July 20, 2024

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Nigeria: Binance Official’s Wife Urges Nigerian Govt to Stop Husband’s Trial, Seeks Us Help

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The Binance executive’s wife faulted the continued prosecution of his husband on money laundeting charges by the Nigerian authorities.

The wife of a top Binance official, Tigran Gambaryan, on Thursday, called on the Nigerian authorities to stop prosecuting him and free him from detention.

Yuki Gambaryan also restated her earlier call on the United States government to intervene “more forcefully” to pressure the Nigerian government to release him.

Mr Gambaryan, held in a court-ordered detention in Abuja, is standing trial on money laundering charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the Nigeria’s capital city.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, where he is being tried, rejected Mr Gambaryan’s bail application last month. The court described him as flight risk.

But his wife said in a statement shared with PREMIUM TIMES late Thursday, that there is no basis for the Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to continue prosecuting him.

Mrs Gambaryan’s contention came on the heels of the decision of the Nigerian tax administration agency, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to drop tax evasion charges against her husband.

“Since the FIRS charges were dropped last week and they agreed to serve those charges solely on Binance, I do not see why the EFCC cannot do the same,” Mrs Gambaryan argued.

The prosecution said it decided to drop Mr Gambaryan from the case following Binance’s appointment of an agent in Nigeria, the company being the primary target.

Referencing the development, Mrs Gambaryan said it was time for “the Nigerian authorities to do the right thing and let my innocent husband go.”

Mrs Gambaryan reiterated her earlier call on the US government to intervene in the matter to secure the release of her husband, who she described as an innocent American citizen.

“I am also once again calling on the US government to intervene more forcefully. Tigran’s 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,” the statement added.

Background

EFCC on 28 March, charged Mr Gambaryan alongside Binance and another of the company’s top executives, Nadeem Anjarwalla with money laundering.

The commission alleged that Mr Gambaryan’s colleague and co-defendant, Mr Anjarwalla, who escaped from lawful custody in Abuja in March, was on the run.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Anjarwalla, 38, escaped on 22 March from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were detained after guards on duty led him to a nearby mosque for prayers in the spirit of the ongoing Ramadan fast.

The Briton, who also has Kenyan citizenship, was believed to have flown out of Abuja using a Middle East airliner.

In a separate case instituted by the FIRS, the prosecution accused Binance and its executives of tax frauds. FIRS filed the case on 22 March.

However, the FIRS, days ago amended the charges to drop the names of Mr Gambaryan and his colleague from the case, following Binance’s appointment of an agent in Nigeria.

The cryptocurrency company, which appointed Ayodele Omotilewa as the agent, is now the sole defendant in the case.

Hearing resumes in the case on 12 July.

By Premium Times.

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