In late February, two senior Binance managers were arrested in Nigeria. One managed to escape and the other sued the local government. He claimed that his arrest was contrary to the country’s constitution and demanded his immediate release.

Amid Nigeria’s crackdown on cryptocurrency activities, one of the detained Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan, has taken legal action against Nigeria’s National Security Advisor (NSA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleging a violation of their basic human rights.

Gambaryan, who serves as Binance’s Head of Financial Crimes Enforcement, was arrested in February along with fellow Binance member Nadeem Anjarwalla.

Executive Alleges Violation of Rights in Detention in Nigeria

According to local media reports, Gambaryan has filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration that his detention and the confiscation of his international passport violate the provisions of the country’s constitution. In his legal motion, Gambaryan asked the court to order the NSA and EFCC to release him from custody and return his passport immediately.

Binance’s Head of Financial Crimes Compliance also requested a permanent injunction to prevent the defendants and their agents from further arresting him with any investigation of the exchange’s operations in the country. Gambaryan urged the court to force the defendants to publicly apologize, arguing that his presence in Nigeria was to honor the invitation of the Office of the National Security Adviser and EFCC to discuss matters related to Binance in the country. The executive claimed that he had not committed any crimes during the meeting and that he had not been officially informed of any personal crimes committed in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the other detained Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, managed to escape from government custody about a month after his initial arrest, as reported earlier this week.

According to information gathered, Anjarwalla stayed with Gambaryan in a guest house in Abuja. During Ramadan, guards took Anjarwalla to a nearby mosque to pray, from which he allegedly escaped and left Abuja on a Middle Eastern airline.

Anjarwalla also filed a similar complaint with the Nigerian government.

Binance Faces Tax Evasion Charges

In a related development, the Nigerian government filed tax evasion charges against Binance, with Anjarwalla and Gambaryan as the second and third defendants. The charges, filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), accuse Binance of non-payment of value added tax, corporate income tax, failure to file tax returns and complicity in helping clients evade taxes through its platform.

Nigerian authorities have filed four charges against the crypto exchange related to tax evasion. The process began at the end of February. The advisor to the country’s president then called for blocking the platform due to possible manipulation of the Nigerian naira. As a result, the authorities became interested in the type of Binance activity. They said Binance may be guilty of laundering at least $2.6 billion, which cannot be traced.

The Binance hearing will take place on April 4. To re-arrest the fugitive administrator of a crypto platform, Nigerian authorities will ask Interpol for help, a local publication reported.

Currently, the exchange’s native token, Binance Coin (BNB), is trading at $617. Over the past month, BNB has shown a consistent upward trend, experiencing a notable increase of over 47%. This rise has brought the token closer to its previous all-time high of $686, which was reached in May 2021.

By Leonardo Perez


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