US Lawmakers Write President Joe Biden, Accuse Nigeria Of Holding Binance Executive Hostage

US Lawmakers Write President Joe Biden, Accuse Nigeria Of Holding Binance Executive Hostage

US lawmakers have accused Nigeria of holding a Binance Holdings Ltd executive, Tigran Gambaryan, “hostage”.

Melody news reports that Gambaryan, a US citizen and head of financial crime compliance at Binance, has been held in Abuja since April 2024.

The face-off between Nigeria and the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange burst into view in February when Nigerian authorities detained Gambaryan and a colleague who subsequently escaped during a visit to discuss the company’s compliance issues with the country.

However, a report by Bloomberg has revealed that sixteen Republican congressmen including Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, have urged President Joe Biden to help secure his release.

The US lawmakers wrote to Biden to have the case of Gambaryan referred to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.

The letter was addressed to the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Roger Carstens, special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.

The charges against Mr Gambaryan are baseless and constitute a coercion tactic by the Nigerian government to extort his employer.

“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,” the lawmakers wrote.

However, Bloomberg said Nigerian Information Minister, Mohammed Idris, rejected the allegation that the Binance executive had been wrongfully detained.

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

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