US Government Urged to Help Detained Binance Executive

US lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to intervene in the case of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive detained in Nigeria.

In a June 4 letter to President Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, the lawmakers highlighted Gambaryan’s wrongful detention by the Nigerian government.

Gambaryan, a US citizen and Binance’s head of compliance traveled to Nigeria with another colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla, in February to address the company’s regulatory challenges in the African country. After two initial professional meetings turned hostile, they were detained, but Anjarwalla managed to escape detention in March.

Subsequently, the Nigerian government filed charges against both Binance and Gambaryan, accusing them of money laundering and tax evasion.

Hostage situation

The lawmakers stated that Gambaryan has been charged with several “baseless” crimes and is being held at Kuje Prison, known for its harsh conditions. Additionally, they stated that Gambaryan has been fighting “for his life inside a prison cell designed to hold ISIS combatants” and has tested positive for malaria without receiving adequate treatment.

The lawmakers argued that these actions were part of a coercion tactic by Nigerian authorities to extort Binance. They stated:

“Mr. Gambaryan’s detainment has been marked by excessive and harsh treatment…It is crucial to emphasize that the charges against Mr. Gambaryan are baseless and constitute a coercion tactic by the Nigerian government to extort his employer, Binance.”

The legislators noted that Gambaryan now legally qualifies as a US citizen wrongfully detained by a foreign government. So, they requested that his case be urgently transferred to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, where it would be adequately treated. They wrote:

“We fear for his life. Immediate action is essential to ensure his safety and preserve his life. We must act swiftly before it is too late.”

16 lawmakers, including the House Foreign Affairs Committee chair, Michael McCaul, signed the letter. Other Congress members who signed the letter are Keith Self, French Hill, Warren Davidson, and others.

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