EFCC Pushes Forward with Money Laundering Case, Binance Exec’s Wife Frustrates

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria has recently pressed ahead with its money laundering case against Binance and its executive, Tigran Gambaryan. This move has sparked a strong reaction from Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki Gambaryan.

On June 20, EFCC’s lead counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, reportedly cross-examined Abdulkadir Abbas, the director of the Securities Exchange Commission. 

The EFCC Case Background

Binance faces two separate lawsuits: one from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) concerning tax evasion and another from the EFCC involving money laundering and foreign exchange violations. 

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On February 26, when Gambaryan, who had traveled from the United States, and Nadeem Anjarwalla were detained in Nigeria. Gambaryan was in the country to participate in Binance’s defense against accusations of tax evasion and money laundering, in a case brought by the FIRS on June 14.

Nigeria dropped tax evasion charges against Gambaryan on the same day but is keeping him in custody for charges related to money laundering. The court’s decision came after the FIRS filed fresh amended charges, which were prompted by Binance’s appointment of Ayodele Omotilewa as its Nigerian representative.

Family’s Plea for Justice

Yuki Gambaryan, Tigran’s wife, voiced her frustration and confusion over the EFCC’s persistence in keeping her husband in custody. She called on the United States government to expedite efforts to secure his release. In a heartfelt statement, Yuki expressed her disbelief that the EFCC could not follow the example set by the FIRS and release her husband.

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“It is time for the Nigerian authorities to do the right thing and let my innocent husband go,” she stated. “Tigran and my own tax dollars get sent to Nigeria in aid every year. Nigeria is supposed to be an ally. I refuse to believe that our State Department cannot do more to have an innocent American citizen released.”

Advocate for Release

In a significant show of support, U.S. Congress members Chrissy Houlahan and French Hill visited Tigran Gambaryan in Kuje Prison on June 20. They reported that Gambaryan has suffered from severe health issues, including malaria and double pneumonia, and has lost a significant amount of weight due to inadequate medical care.

Houlahan and Hill have called for Gambaryan’s immediate humanitarian release, citing the poor prison conditions and his deteriorating health. Their visit followed a joint letter from 18 U.S. Congress members to President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging them to intervene on Gambaryan’s behalf.

The recent court rulings have provided some relief, but the EFCC’s continued prosecution indicates that the legal battles are far from over.

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