Just In: Court Denies Bail For Binance Executive Amid Money Laundering Charges

Just In: Court Denies Bail For Binance Executive Amid Money Laundering Charges

4 weeks ago
1 min read

The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the bail application of Tigran Gambaryan, a detained executive of Binance, following opposition from the Nigerian government.

Gambaryan, who serves as the head of financial crime compliance at Binance, had sought bail pending the resolution of a money laundering case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

During the proceedings, Gambaryan’s lawyer, M. Mordi, argued passionately for his client’s release, citing Gambaryan’s clean record and his cooperation with the Nigerian authorities. However, the EFCC’s counsel, E. Iheanacho, countered by highlighting Gambaryan’s alleged attempts to obtain a new passport while his previous one was seized, suggesting a flight risk.

Justice Emeka Nwite, presiding over the case, delivered the ruling today, emphasizing that bail can be denied if there are concerns about the defendant’s potential to flee or interfere with the trial process. Justice Nwite noted from the evidence presented that Gambaryan had visited Nigeria for meetings with government officials on behalf of Binance, but also acknowledged allegations of financial improprieties involving the company.

The Nigerian government has accused Binance, Gambaryan, and his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla of conspiring to conceal the origin of financial proceeds, amounting to $35.4 million, allegedly derived from unlawful activities in Nigeria. This accusation falls under the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act of 2022.

READ ALSO: Binance’s Bribery Claim ‘False’, Diversionary Tactics – Nigerian Govt

Notably, Anjarwalla, the regional manager for Africa at Binance, has fled custody, complicating the legal landscape surrounding the case. Reports indicate he has been apprehended in Kenya, although details remain sparse.

The court’s decision to deny Gambaryan bail underscores the severity with which Nigerian authorities are approaching cases of financial crimes, especially amidst broader crackdowns on cryptocurrency-related activities in the country. Since Nigeria’s ban on cryptocurrency channels aimed at curbing currency speculation, regulatory scrutiny has intensified, affecting entities like Binance, which have been pivotal in the crypto market.

This legal saga reflects broader tensions between regulatory bodies and global fintech companies operating in Nigeria. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has also filed a separate suit against Binance for alleged tax evasion, adding to the company’s legal challenges in the country.

Gambaryan’s legal team has indicated plans to challenge the ruling, citing procedural fairness and Gambaryan’s willingness to cooperate with the investigation. They argue that denying bail undermines their client’s rights and hinders his ability to assist in his defense effectively.

As this case continues to unfold, it raises fundamental questions about the intersection of global finance, regulatory compliance, and legal accountability in Nigeria’s evolving economic landscape. The outcome will not only impact Gambaryan’s personal fate but also set precedents for how foreign executives and multinational corporations engage with Nigerian regulatory frameworks in the future.


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