Detained Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan in good health- Nigerian Prison Service claims

Tigran Gambaryan, Binance's head of crime compliance, is being held in a Nigerian prison. (Shutterstock:Consensus)
Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of crime compliance, is being held in a Nigerian prison. (Shutterstock: Consensus)

The Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) has assured that Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan, currently detained at Kuje prison in Abuja, is in good health, countering allegations from his family regarding his deteriorating condition.

During a briefing organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in Abuja, NCoS spokesperson Umar Abubakar addressed the concerns raised by Gambaryan’s family at the Abuja Federal High Court on June 28. The family had urged for his bail, citing his declining health.

Abubakar refuted these claims, stating, “Gambaryan is not under any serious health condition,” and emphasised that the correctional facilities are equipped to handle inmates’ health issues. He highlighted the service’s successful management of health crises, noting, “In 2020, during COVID-19, we recorded 0% of COVID patients in our custodial centres.”

He further assured that NCoS has qualified medical personnel available to attend to any inmate health concerns and that inmates are referred to appropriate hospitals if their conditions cannot be managed within the facility.

Gambaryan is fine with us, and he will continue to be fine with us,” Abubakar reiterated, aiming to dispel any worries about the Binance executive’s wellbeing.

Detained executive: CEO says Binance is working with Nigeria government to resolve issues
Tigran Gambaryan

Despite a court order from Justice Emeka Nwite on Thursday, May 23, Gambaryan remained in Kuje prison and was not transferred to a hospital, according to a family spokesperson. The family expressed grave concerns over his health, citing the inadequate medical facilities at Kuje prison.

It has not yet officially been ascertained what he is suffering from, given that the medical facilities at Kuje are inadequate,” the spokesperson stated according to Coindesk. “It is suspected that he has a severe throat infection and malaria.”

The court had ordered Gambaryan’s transfer to a hospital to address his health issues, but this directive was not followed.

Gambaryan has been in detention for over four months. He was initially invited by Nigerian authorities to resolve a dispute with Binance. However, after a meeting with government officials, he and another Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, were apprehended by law enforcement. While Anjarwalla later escaped, he remains implicated in the money laundering charges.

Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki Gambaryan, expressed her devastation and shock to CoinDesk over the authorities’ inaction despite the court order.

Tigran does not deserve such inhumane treatment,” she said.

He has done nothing wrong and is suffering simply because he accepted an invitation to a meeting in Abuja. This has gone too far. I am begging everyone who can help, including our own American government, to recognise that an innocent man’s life is at risk. Please, at least let him go to the hospital so he can recover. But more importantly, let him come home to us.

Nigerian court remands Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan in custody
Tigran Gambaryan and his counsels in court. Source: Nairamatrics.

Consequently, two members of the US Congress, French Hill and Chrissy Houlahan visited detained Gambaryan at the Kuje Detention facility on June 19.

According to Hill’s X post, the Representatives found out that Tigran is suffering from health implications as a result of the unpalatable conditions of the detention facility. He “has malaria and double pneumonia, and he reports that he has lost significant weight. Even worse, he’s being denied access to adequate medical attention.

Both representatives jointly called for his immediate release so he can be reconciled with his family:

Tigran has devoted his professional life to fighting money laundering and tax evasion, having spent ten years as an IRS Special Agent where he successfully led cyber and financial crime investigations. He must be immediately granted a humanitarian release, the remaining charges dropped, and he must return home to America where he belongs”, they asked of the Nigerian government.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Register for Technext Coinference 2023, the Largest blockchain and DeFi Gathering in Africa.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!