Binance: Nigerian Government continues to detain 2 employees despite court ruling

David Afolayan
At the court hearing in Abuja, which was attended by Tigran and Nadeem, the court ruled that after hearing arguments from both parties, it would resume hearing on April 5th which is in about 10 working days….
Binance: Nigerian Government continues to detain 2 employees despite court ruling

Families of the detained employees of the popular crypto platform, Binance have claimed today that the Nigerian Government have continued to detain them in Abuja despite a court hearing that did not extend their detention period, even though they have not been charged with a crime.

For three weeks now, Tigran Gambaryan, a former crypto-focused US federal agent, and a Kenyan Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla have been stripped of their passports and held in confinement at a government property in the Nigerian capital of Abuja by the office of the National Security Adviser.

According to a Financial Times report, the two executives were detained as part of the government’s actions to arrest the free fall of its local currency, the Naira. The report claimed that the executives flew to Nigeria following the country’s decision to ban several cryptocurrency trading websites in the previous week.

According to a report by Reuters, the two employees appeared in a Federal High Court in the capital Abuja on Tuesday. The report indicated that lawyers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) requested the court to grant a new detention order after the initial one expired on March 12. The lawyers of the Binance executives opposed the request.

But, the judge did not make a ruling on EFCC’s request.

Read more: 2 senior Binance executives detained in Nigeria as naira and P2P become inactive on platform

“At the court hearing in Abuja, which was attended by Tigran and Nadeem, the court ruled that after hearing arguments from both parties, it would resume hearing on April 5th which is in about 10 working days. This ruling came after the original court order to hold
Nadeem and Tigran expired on March 12th and a request for a new order was filed by the
Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The Judge did not grant an extension to
this order,” the representative of the families of the two executives said in a statement shared with Technext.

Naira free fall: Nigerian authorities finally ban access to crypto exchanges

In an emotional appeal, the families of Tigran and Nadeem explained that they have continued to plead with the Nigerian authorities for the release of their loved ones throughout their detention. But the appeal has not led to their release so far.

“With their continued detention, both fathers will now miss key milestones in their children’s lives. Tomorrow is Nadeem’s only son’s first birthday and on April 5th, Tigran’s son will turn 5”, the statement claimed.

Court orders Binance to share data with the Nigerian Government

Recall that a high court which sat in Abuja ordered Binance to provide comprehensive information about all Nigerian users trading on its platform to the country’s economic anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to a report by the Nigeria News Agency (NAN), High Court Judge, Justice Emeka Nwite granted the interim order after ruling on the ex parte motion application (FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024) dated and filed on 29th February 2024 by EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho. The interim order enabled the anti-graft agency to unravel the alleged money laundering and terrorism financing on Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

Read also: Court orders Binance to share transaction details, names of Nigerian users with the EFCC

The ex parte brought according to Sections 6(b), (h), (I), 7(1), (a)(2), and 38 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Establishment Act, 2004 and Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 (as amended) and the inherent powers of the court.

“The applicant’s application is, hereby, granted as prayed. That an order of this honourable court is, hereby, made directing the operators of Binance to provide the commission with comprehensive data/information relating to all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform,” the judge was quoted to have declared.

SEC declares Binance operations in Nigeria illegal

Also, an affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Hamma Bello, an operative of the EFCC attached to the Special Investigation Team (domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser- ONSA) stated that the motion was raised because the agency “received an intelligence stating the nefarious activities (money laundering and terrorism financing) on Binance”.

“The team uncovered users who have been using the platform for price discovery, confirmation, and market manipulation, which has caused tremendous distortions in the market, resulting in the Naira losing its value against other currencies”, it added.

This followed an order by the Federal Government of Nigeria to Binance to reveal its top 100 users in the country as part of its investigations into the activities of the exchange. The government also ordered Binance to release all transaction history over the past 6 months.

Read alsoCBN Gov says $26bn from unidentified people passed through Binance Nigeria in the last year


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