The US Congress calls for the release of the head of Binance in Nigeria

In a letter dated June 4, 2024, members of the U.S. Congress called on President Joe Biden to free Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance official detained in Nigeria. For these American politicians, this former federal agent is just being held hostage by the Nigerian authorities. In response, Nigeria promises that Tigran Gambaryan will receive a fair trial on charges of money laundering and tax evasion.

Biden, bring back Tigran Gambaryan

Mobilization for the liberation of Binance’s Chief Compliance Officer Tigran Gambaryan detained in Nigeria continues. In a letter addressed to the president Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, a group of American politicians is encouraging the repatriation of Tigran Gambaryan. For the 16 signatories, the case Tigran Gambaryan is a hostage situation requiring urgent action to avoid the worst.

We fear for his life. Immediate action is essential to ensure his safety and preserve his life. We must act quickly before it’s too late.

Letter from the group of congressmen.

In their letter, the signatories recall in particular the glorious past of Tigran Gambaryan, the circumstances of his arrest and the difficult conditions of his detention in Nigeria. The letter states that, before joining Binance, Tigran Gambaryan worked for 10 years at the International Revenue Service (IRS). In this capacity, he helped the US government seize more than $4 billion in illicit funds.

In addition, the signatories recall that Tigran Gambaryan visited Nigeria last February at the invitation of the country’s authorities. After two meetings with the Nigerian authorities on the regulatory situation of Binance in the country, he was “taken hostage” with his colleague. While his colleague managed to escape and remains wantedTigran Gambaryan remains detained in Nigeria in difficult conditions. According to the 16 American politicians, Tigran Gambaryan suffers from malaria and is unable to stand.

Nigeria refuses to release Tigran Gambaryan

Despite American pressure for the release of Tigran Gambaryan, the Nigerian authorities seem unperturbed for the moment. While assuring that Binance will receive appropriate consular access from the U.S. and all due diligence, in accordance with standard diplomatic protocols and the rule of law, the Nigerian federal government is refusing for the time being to release Tigran Gambaryan.

According to the local press, the Nigerian Minister of Information stated that the trial against Binance and Tigran Gambaryan for money laundering and tax evasion will be held under Nigerian law. Mohammed Idris found that, so far, the judicial process had been respected at every stage. In particular, he explained that the release on bail of Tigran Gambaryan had been refused at the previous hearing due to the high risk of the accused absconding, mainly because his co-accused had fled the country illegallyMohammed Idris also assured that Binance will have the opportunity to defend itself in court at the next hearing scheduled for June 20, 2024.

Binance has succeeded in put an end to its legal troubles in the USA and is gradually aligning itself with the MiCA law in Europe. Unfortunately, the exchange has to contend with legal and regulatory problems in Nigeria. Binance cannot afford to leave this emerging crypto market and will therefore have to reach an agreement with the Nigerian authorities. If Joe Biden activates his diplomacy as requested by Congress, Nigeria could let go.