Market Times:


New York:


Binance CEO Shares Full Details About Detained Executive in Nigeria

Binance CEO breaks silence and shares insights about Tigran, one of the executives detained in Nigeria for over 70 days.

Richard Teng

Richard Teng, the CEO of the leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has called for the release of Tigran Gambaryan, one of the Binance executives detained in Nigeria since February 2024, as part of a national crypto crackdown. According to Teng, the move by the African country “has set a dangerous new precedent for all companies worldwide.”

Binance vs. Nigeria

Earlier this year, Binance halted the trading of the Nigerian naira (NGN) on its peer-to-peer (P2P) platform following allegations from authorities that Binance allowed malicious traders to manipulate the USD/NGN exchange rate. The country’s government also ordered local telecommunication companies to disable access to crypto-based platforms like Binance. Around the same time, Binance faced a regulatory tussle with the United States authorities.

Nigerian authorities also accused Binance of facilitating the trade of $26 billion in untraceable funds for Nigerian traders. The government also imposed a $10 billion fine on Binance, ordering the exchange to reveal information on all Nigerians using the platform and demanding data of Binance’s top 100 Nigerian users and their transaction history of the last six months.

In February, the African country welcomed two senior Binance executives to discuss matters concerning Binance’s supposed role in devaluing the sovereign currency. After the first meeting at the country’s capital, Abuja, the Nigerian government confiscated their passports and detained them in an undisclosed “guesthouse” in Abuja.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the detained Binance executives, reportedly escaped from custody in Abuja after going to the mosque for his prayers during the Ramadan period. In late April, a local report confirmed that the Binance official would be “smoked out and extradited to Nigeria to face tax evasion charges levelled against him and his colleague.”

Tigran Gambaryan, on the other hand, remains in the Nigerian government’s custody over similar charges involving tax evasion.

The Binance CEO reiterated that Gambaryan is innocent by outlining his proactive role in curbing financial crimes, especially involving cryptocurrencies. He further explained the detained executive’s career history with United States agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). He added that the crypto exchange is working towards his swift release.

Nigeria’s Stance on Cryptocurrencies

Although the Nigerian government has not outrightly banned cryptocurrencies, the authorities have shown a pessimistic view of the industry.

Last week, the country’s sovereign bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), ordered financial banks to block accounts caught conducting crypto transactions through direct transactions or P2P trading.

Mishael Nwani

Mishael Nwani is an avid crypto enthusiast with nearly four years of experience in the industry. Since 2022, he has covered topics across cryptocurrencies, NFTs, artificial intelligence, and financial markets.