US lawmakers ‘ask’ Biden to intervene in Binance executive’s trial in Nigeria

US lawmakers ‘ask’ Biden to intervene in Binance executive’s trial in Nigeria

The executive and Binance are standing trial over money
laundering allegations.

 

On May 17, a federal high court in Nigeria’s capital city
refused to grant bail to Gambaryan, stating that he may likely “jump bail if
granted to him”.

 

The bail refusal came two months after Nadeem Anjarwalla,
the Binance regional manager for Africa, escaped from the custody of the office
of the national security adviser (ONSA) in Nigeria.

 

Anjarwalla was said to have escaped after guards on duty led
him to a nearby mosque for prayers during the Ramadan period.

 

“The charges against Mr. Gambaryan are baseless and
constitute a coercion tactic by the Nigerian government to extort his employer,
Binance,” the lawmakers said in the letter cited by Bloomberg.

 

“Following these charges, Mr. Gambaryan qualifies as a ‘U.S.
Citizen wrongfully detained by a foreign government.

 

“After two rounds of meetings, which were described as
starting professional and then becoming increasingly hostile, the government of
Nigeria took Mr. Gambaryan hostage.

 

 “Mr. Gambaryan’s
health and well-being are in danger, and we fear for his life. Immediate action
is essential to ensure his safety and preserve his life.”

 

According to the publication, the letter was also addressed
to Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, and Roger Carstens, a special
presidential envoy for hostage affairs.

 

Responding to the hostage allegation in a call with
Bloomberg, Muhammed Idris, Nigeria’s minister of information, rejected the
allegation that Gambaryan had been wrongfully detained.

 

“Nobody is being kept outside our laws and nobody’s life is
in danger. They have committed a crime,” Idris said.

 

“We’re a responsible country and we have to ensure that
everybody that is being investigated or is being tried under our laws is
healthy enough to answer our questions.”

 

In April, Gambaryan was held at a guest house before formal
charges were brought against him and Binance in an Abuja court.

 

He is accused alongside the crypto company of charges
including non-payment of value-added tax and corporate income tax, and
complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform.

 

The executive is being held in the Kuje correctional centre.

 

On May 23 when the Binance executive last appeared in court,
the hearing was adjourned until June 20 after his lawyer said he was too ill to
proceed.

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