The Call to Release Binance Detainee: An Injustice Unveiled

The Call to Release Binance Detainee: An Injustice Unveiled

The recent detention of Tigran Gambaryan, a US citizen and Binance’s financial crime compliance department head, in Nigeria has sparked outrage and concern within the crypto community. Binance CEO Richard Teng has strongly condemned Gambaryan’s detainment, labeling it as unjust and setting a dangerous precedent for companies globally. This act of inviting a company’s mid-level employee for collaborative policy meetings only to detain them sends a chilling message to businesses operating in Nigeria and beyond.

Gambaryan, along with Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa, was apprehended upon their arrival in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Feb. 26. While Anjarwalla managed to escape custody on March 22, Gambaryan remained in detention. Teng emphasized that Gambaryan was not in Nigeria as a decision-maker or negotiator but rather as a functional expert in financial crime capacity building for policy discussions. This distinction raises serious questions about Nigeria’s motives in detaining a non-key employee of Binance.

Teng accused Nigeria of using Gambaryan’s detainment as a means to exert control over Binance. By targeting a mid-level employee and a former US federal agent, Nigeria sends a clear message of intimidation and coercion to the exchange. Teng called on Nigeria to release Gambaryan and allow him to return to his family. He also expressed willingness for Binance to cooperate with Nigerian law enforcement authorities, as they have done in the past on numerous occasions.

Opaque Demands and Bribery Allegations

In a concerning turn of events, Teng revealed that the exchange received requests from unknown persons, claiming to represent Nigeria’s House Committee on Financial Crimes (HCFC), asking for a significant crypto payment to be made in secret. While Teng did not disclose the exact amount requested, reports from The New York Times suggested that an individual associated with the Nigerian government solicited a bribe totaling around $150 million in crypto from Gambaryan.

The detention of Tigran Gambaryan in Nigeria has brought to light troubling issues of injustice, abuse of power, and opaque demands within the crypto industry. As the community rallies behind calls for his release, it is essential to uphold principles of fairness, transparency, and integrity in all dealings, especially in the face of such flagrant violations of individual rights and corporate freedom.

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