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Relatives Of Two Binance Executives Detained In Nigeria Amid Crackdown On Binance.

Relatives of two Binance executives detained in Nigeria amid a crackdown on the crypto exchange platform on Tuesday, spoke about their expectations of a quick resolution with the Nigerian authorities.

According to the families of the two executives, the officials are 39-year-old Tigran Gambaryan, an American and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, and 37-year-old Nadeem Anjarwalla, a UK and Kenyan national who is Binance’s regional manager for Africa.

Premium Times reported how the Nigerian government detained the two executives of the crypto exchange platform amid desperate efforts to stabilise the nation’s foreign exchange market.

Federal government sources with details of the matter told PREMIUM TIMES that the two executives were detained in Abuja, the federal capital territory, days after they flew into the country as part of moves to negotiate with the Nigerian authorities amid a crackdown on the crypto platform.

They had arrived in Nigeria to negotiate with the government amid the crackdown but the meetings were deadlocked as the top officials declined to meet some of the demands put forward by the Nigerian government. They were also accused of operating a business worth billions without the requisite registrations and documentation.

Sources also revealed that the two executives insisted that they should be taken to their respective countries’ embassies before they could comply with the demands of the Nigerian authorities.

The government after that obtained a court warrant to detain the officials for at least twelve days in the first instance, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Uncertainties

Speaking about the top officials’ ordeals on Tuesday, their families claimed that upon arriving in Nigeria in February, the two executives sat with officials from Central Bank of Nigeria, securities regulator, national security arm and financial intelligence arm.

The meeting lasted about two hours and left Gambaryan and Anjarwalla feeling progress had been made but the two Binance employees were later escorted back to their hotel, asked to pack their belongings, and were taken to a guarded house.

No reason was given for the action, the families claimed, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Jessica Gois, a strategic PR consultant for the PR firm representing the families, also confirmed the claims to PREMIUM TIMES in an email Tuesday morning.

Anjarwalla’s wife, Elahe Anjarwalla, said the men and their families have not been informed what the probe is about even though the two men are allowed to use their phones under the supervision of guards.

Yuki Gambaryan, the wife of Mr Gambaryan, said she speaks with her husband over text message a few times a day when he is allowed.

Elahe Anjarwalla, also said that her husband began fasting for Ramadan on Monday and Gambaryan joined in solidarity. She disclosed that Anjarwalla talks with his 11-month-old son, whose first birthday is next week.

“I am hoping and praying they get back in time for that,” she told WSJ.

Gambaryan, who joined Binance in 2021, was a special agent at the IRS and participated in the shutdown of digital currency exchange BTC-e, which authorities in the United States accused of facilitating crime in 2017.

On his part, before joining Binance in 2022, Anjarwalla worked at a venture capital firm and Uber.

Since its first official confirmation of the clampdown efforts on the activities of Binance and other crypto platforms, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has not spoken about the investigations.

The security office had earlier confirmed that it was coordinating an interagency investigation into the operations of Binance.

“I am confirming that the office of the national security adviser, as part of ongoing operations in the foreign exchange market with the CBN and other law enforcement and security agencies, is coordinating an interagency investigation into the operations of Binance,” Zakari Mijinyawa, head of Strategic Communication at the Office of the National Security Adviser, said at the time.

The ordeal of Binance officials in Nigeria is coming months after the crypto exchange platform pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle criminal money laundering charges levied by the US Department of Justice.

Binance founder and CEO, Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, pleaded guilty and agreed to step down from his position. His criminal trial has been postponed to 30 April by a US court.

Premium Times

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