Politicians Urge Biden to Secure Release of Binance Exec Detained in Nigeria

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Several US politicians have called on President Joe Biden and the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs to intervene in the case of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance employee detained in Nigeria for over three months on charges of money laundering and tax evasion.

Immediate Action Requests

In a letter dated June 4, addressed to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Hostage Affairs Envoy Roger D. Carstens, 12 US politicians emphasized the urgency of Gambaryan’s situation. They stressed that Gamb0.

aryan is “wrongfully detained” by Nigerian authorities and that immediate action is necessary to ensure his safety.

“We fear for his life. Immediate action is essential to ensure his safety and preserve his life. We must act swiftly before it is too late,” the letter stated.

Background and Conditions of the Detention for Binance Exec

Gambaryan, who serves as the Binance head of financial crime compliance, traveled to Nigeria on February 26 at the invitation of the Nigerian government to discuss Binance’s compliance issues in the country. Despite initial professional meetings, the situation deteriorated, leading to Gambaryan’s detention by Nigerian authorities.

The US politicians highlighted that Gambaryan is being held in Nigeria’s Kuje Prison, notorious for its harsh conditions. They expressed grave concerns for his health and safety, noting that Gambaryan has tested positive for malaria and has not received the court-ordered medical treatment in a private hospital.

Legal and Health Concerns

Gambaryan was denied bail on May 18, and four days later, he missed a scheduled court hearing. His absence led to concerns about his whereabouts and condition. When he appeared in court the next day, his health had visibly deteriorated, and he collapsed in the courtroom.

“When Mr. Gambaryan was asked to step forward by the judge, he could not stand on his own and ultimately collapsed to the floor,” the politicians reported.

They also noted that Gambaryan has been denied private meetings with his legal team, with Nigerian authorities and armed guards present during all interactions.

Prior Career and Charges of Binance Exec

Before joining Binance, Gambaryan served as a federal agent with the Internal Revenue Service for ten years. The charges against him, including money laundering and tax evasion, are deemed “baseless” by the US politicians, who believe Nigerian authorities are using these accusations to coerce and extort Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange.

The letter to President Biden calls for the involvement of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs in Gambaryan’s case. The politicians argue that Gambaryan’s detention is a coercion tactic and emphasize the need for swift action to secure his release and ensure his well-being.

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