FG Ensures Due Process In Binance Trial Amid International Concerns

FG Ensures Due Process In Binance Trial Amid International Concerns

The Federal Government of Nigeria has reaffirmed its commitment to due process in the ongoing legal proceedings against Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency platforms, and its executive, Tigran Gambaryan.

This statement comes in light of recent international concerns regarding the detention and trial of Binance’s top officials.

On February 28, Nigerian authorities detained Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s Regional Manager for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan, the Head of Financial Crime Compliance, as part of investigations into alleged illegal operations and foreign exchange manipulations in Nigeria.

Subsequent to their detention, the government charged Binance with tax evasion on March 25, during which Anjarwalla managed to flee detention.

Recently, the situation escalated when U.S. lawmakers accused the Nigerian government of holding Gambaryan “hostage”.

In a letter dated June 4, addressed to President Joe Biden, they called for U.S. intervention to secure his release and expressed concerns over the legality and fairness of the Nigerian judiciary process.

Responding to these allegations, the Nigerian Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris,  emphasized that the trial of Binance and Gambaryan will adhere strictly to the legal standards prescribed by Nigerian law.

In a statement released by his Special Assistant on Media, Rabiu Ibrahim, on Wednesday, Idris assured that Binance and its executives would be provided a full opportunity to contest the charges levied against them in a fair trial.

He said, “At all stages, due process has been followed, and prosecutors are confident of their case, based on the facts and evidence gathered.

“Binance will have every opportunity to defend itself in court against these severe charges of financial crimes against the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Idris said the defendant had received consular access and all due care, following normal diplomatic protocols and the rule of law.

He said the judge in the case has sufficiently posited that Gambaryan was denied bail because of the flight risk after his colleague fled the country.

According to Idris, Binance’s turnover in Nigeria was over $20 billion in 2023 alone, far above the federal budget for health and education, fueling currency speculation and the cost-of-living crisis.

He said the firm is neither registered in Nigeria nor has it ever paid taxes, having operated without oversight or any of the normal guard rails to flag criminal activity.

Idris said it is important that Binance is prefaced as an entity whose representatives have faced imprisonment, fines, sanctions, and bans in North America, Europe, and Asia in recent years.

“Changpeng Zhao, the billionaire co-founder and former CEO of Binance is currently serving a four-month prison sentence in the United states after being found guilty of money laundering, while Binance has openly accepted its role in facilitating terrorism, corruption, sanctions busting, and in aiding and abetting paedophile gangs,” Idris said.

“Law enforcement agencies believe Binance operations in Nigeria are part of a broader international pattern. It will be for the courts here, as in other jurisdictions, to hold the company and its executives accountable.”

The minister said the upcoming hearing has been scheduled for June 20.

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