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Binance Exec Will Spend His 40th Birthday in Nigerian Prison as Bail Hearing Postponed

Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, will remain in Nigerian custody until 17 May 2024, spending his 40th birthday behind bars

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Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, will remain in Nigerian custody until 17 May 2024 as per an Abuja court's ruling.

US Citizen Gambaryan, who serves as Binance's Head of Financial Crime Compliance, will have his bail hearing postponed until after he is tried on money laundering charges.

Binance and Gambaryan's money laundering trial will start on 2 May while tax evasion charges will be tried on 17 May. Gambaryan’s family will spend his 40th birthday in prison.

Gambaryan and Binance's regional manager for Africa, British Kenyan Nadeem Anjarwalla, were detained in Nigeria in February. The pair visited the country in to address allegations that the exchange's activity had crashed the country's national currency, the naira.

Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) charged the exchange and its two executives with five counts bordering on money laundering.

Anjarwalla, who serves as Binance's regional manager for Africa, escaped custody in March, with Binance stating, “We were made aware that Nadeem is no longer in Nigerian custody. Our primary focus remains on the safety of our employees and we are working collaboratively with Nigerian authorities to quickly resolve this issue.”

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He then flew out of Nigeria's capital, Abuja, on a Middle East airline to Kenya, where he has been hiding. The Nigerian government is now collaborating with Interpol and Kenyan police to extradite Arjarwalla back to Nigeria to face charges against him.

When Arjarwalla escaped, Gambaryan was moved to Kuje prison, where suspected Boko Haram members are detained. A self-recorded video showed Gambaryan stating he was unaware of Arjarwalla's escape and pleaded to the US government for help.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla have lodged a lawsuit against Nuhu Ribadu, Nigeria’s National Security Advisor, and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, alleging a breach of their human rights.

Gambaryan's family has stated that the US government and embassy have offered little support, only visiting them once.

“There is no justice in what is being done to my husband. I am in a constant state of grief and anxiety, not knowing what other injustice he is going to be put through,” Gambaryan’s wife Yuki Gambaryan said in a statement.

“It is outrageous that Tigran, an innocent man, continues to be kept in a prison cell and the ruling on his bail will not be made until after the trial starts…This is just pure cruelty.”

Gambaryan has pleaded “not guilty” to all of the charges against him.

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