Binance Executive Takes Legal Action Against Nigerian Authorities: Report

Tigran Gambaryan, a top executive at Binance, has taken legal action against the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria.

According to a Reuters report, Gambaryan, an American citizen, has filed a Fundamental Rights suit alleging wrongful detention by Nigerian authorities.

Unjust Detention and Court Orders
Gambaryan’s lawyer, T.J. Krukrubo SAN, presented the case before the Federal High Court in Abuja, revealing that his client’s detention is being used by the Nigerian government as leverage to extract demands from Binance.

Details from the suit reveal that Gambaryan, accompanied by Nadeem Anjarwalla, attended a meeting with Nigerian officials on February 26, 2024, at the invitation of Saad Abubakar of the NSA and Olalekan Ogunjobi of the EFCC.

Following the meeting, Nigerian authorities detained both Gambaryan and Anjarwalla. Gambaryan has been in custody ever since, while Anjarwalla managed to escape.

Krukrubo emphasized that Gambaryan had committed no offense during the meeting or at any other time in Nigeria. Instead, the detention appears to be solely aimed at pressuring Binance to comply with governmental demands.

The court documents reveal Gambaryan’s argument that Binance has a history of cooperating with Nigerian law enforcement, having responded to over 600 requests for information since 2020, leading to significant seizures and recoveries. Despite this cooperation, Gambaryan argues that his continued detention violates his fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.

Seeking justice, Gambaryan has requested several orders from the court, including a declaration that his detention violates constitutional provisions on personal liberty, an immediate release from custody, and a perpetual injunction against further detention related to Binance investigations. He has also demanded a public apology from the Nigerian authorities.

During the court proceedings, Krukrubo informed Justice Inyang Ekwo that the respondents, NSA and EFCC, were yet to respond to the application. Consequently, the judge agreed to adjourn the case to April 8, allowing the respondents time to address the allegations.

Nigerian Crypto Crackdown
This legal action comes against the backdrop of heightened scrutiny on cryptocurrency exchanges in Nigeria. Following accusations of influencing foreign exchange rates, the Nigerian government has imposed stricter regulations on crypto trading platforms.

The detention of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla occurred shortly after Nigerian authorities banned cryptocurrency channels as part of efforts to combat currency speculation.

The situation has also increased economic challenges in Nigeria, with the Naira experiencing significant devaluation against the dollar. The scarcity of dollars locally also adds to the country’s economic troubles.

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