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U.S. lawmakers visit imprisoned Binance executive in Nigeria

News
U.S. lawmakers visit imprisoned Binance executive in Nigeria

U.S. legislators Chrissy Houlahan and French Hill recently called for the release of Tigran Gambaryan after visiting him in a Nigerian prison.

The Binance executive is currently facing serious money laundering charges, which are alleged to be related to his association with Binance, a global cryptocurrency exchange.

Hill said Gambaryan is suffering from malaria and double pneumonia, saying that he has lost weight and is being denied access to adequate medical attention. 

“Tigran must be immediately granted a humanitarian release, the remaining charges dropped, and he must return home to America where he belongs,” Hill said. 

Hill, a Republican representative from Arkansas, and Houlahan, a Democrat representative from Pennsylvania, were visiting the country to discuss anti-terrorism efforts.

Hill expressed his desire for the U.S. embassy to support the release of Gambaryan due to his prison conditions and his health.

Nigeria dropped the tax charges against the two Binance executives last week, but Gambaryan still remains in custody.

Letter to President Biden

On June 4, politicians in the United States urged President Joe Biden to initiate efforts to bring back the detained Binance executive. The letter, mostly signed by congress members, was addressed to the President, Secretary Antony Blinken, and the Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger D. Carstens.

In the letter, the politicians raised concerns about Gambaryan being “wrongfully detained” by the Nigerian government. 

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

Background

Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwall were arrested in February and charged with criminal violations by the Nigerian government. Gambaryan is awaiting trial, while Anjarwall escaped custody and was extradited from Kenya to Nigeria. 

The two individuals went to Nigeria to discuss regulatory issues on behalf of Binance and the government’s recent crackdown on cryptocurrency trading platforms with officials. They were arrested and held by the government without their passports following the negotiations.

Binance has been trying to convince Nigerian authorities that Gambaryan does not have decision-making authority in the company. They have argued that he should not be required to appear in court for any charges and should be released.