Nigerian Authorities Confiscate Passports of Binance Executives, Hold Them in Detention for Two Weeks


Over the course of the last two weeks, Nigerian authorities have detained two senior executives from cryptocurrency exchange Binance against their will.

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According to a report from Wired, Tigran Gambaryan, the head of Binance’s criminal investigations team, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, the company’s regional manager for Africa, who is based in Kenya, have had their passports revoked and are being held captive on government property in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

When Gambaryan and Anjarwalla arrived in Abuja on February 26 to discuss the ongoing conflict between Binance and the Nigerian government, the ordeal officially started.
The devaluation of the naira as the country’s currency and the purported facilitation of “illicit flows” of funds were the reasons given by the government for ordering the nation’s telecoms to block access to Binance and other cryptocurrency exchanges.

But after their first meeting, Nigeria’s National Security Agency brought the executives to their hotels, and later on, they were transferred to a guesthouse run by the government.

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Concerns Persist Among Families of Detained Binance Executives

The families of Anjarwalla and Gambaryan have expressed their extreme displeasure and concern over the situation’s lack of clarity and information.


Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki Gambaryan, told Wired that there is “no definitive answer for anything: how’s he’s doing, what’s going to happen to him, when he’s coming back.” “And it’s killing me not knowing that.”

The executives have been unable to speak in private despite the presence of guards from the Nigerian government during meetings with a representative of the UK foreign office and an official from the US State Department.

The families have also revealed that after Anjarwalla became ill, possibly from malaria, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were briefly moved to a nearby hospital. However, they were later brought back to the government property, where they are still being held.

When contacted for comment, Binance refused to elaborate on the allegations or requests made by the Nigerian government.


A representative did, however, clarify that the business is collaborating with Nigerian authorities to ensure the executives’ safe return.

The spokesperson hoped for a speedy resolution to the issue and underlined the professionalism and integrity of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla.

It Didn’t Help That Gambaryan Was a Former US Federal Agent

It is especially ironic that Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained, considering that Gambaryan used to be a US federal agent with a focus on cryptocurrency-related investigations.
Binance’s decision to hire him was perceived as an attempt to increase regulatory compliance and strengthen ties with law enforcement.

Gambaryan was involved in high-profile cases before joining Binance, such as the investigation of the drug trade on the Silk Road dark web and the takedown of the Welcome to Video cryptocurrency-based network of child sexual abuse materials.

As previously reported, regulatory scrutiny forced Binance to terminate all services involving the Nigerian naira (NGN), the local fiat currency of Nigeria.

The biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world announced last week that it will stop accepting NGN withdrawals on March 8.

Earlier, as part of a crackdown on the platform to stabilize the country’s local currency, the Nigerian government fined Binance an astounding $10 billion.CRYPTOCASTER® - DECENTRALIZED FREEDOM!

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