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Federal High Court Dismisses Bail Application of Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan

Court rejects bail application of Binance Executive, Tigran Gambaryan
Court rejects bail application of Binance Executive, Tigran Gambaryan

The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the bail application of detained Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, following opposition from the Federal Government. Justice Emeka Nwite ruled against the application, determining that Gambaryan is a flight risk.

Gambaryan’s lawyer, M. Mordi, had sought an order for his client’s release on bail pending the hearing and determination of the money laundering case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Gambaryan has been held at the Kuje Correctional Centre for over 40 days.

The EFCC, represented by E. Iheanacho, argued that Gambaryan’s lack of ties to Nigeria and his recent attempt to apply for a new U.S. passport, despite having his international passport seized, presented significant flight risks. The EFCC suggested that Gambaryan should remain in EFCC custody until the trial concludes.

Justice Nwite, in his ruling, noted that while defendants facing charges with penalties of three years or more are typically entitled to bail, exceptions apply in cases of evidence concealment or trial interference.

The judge observed that Gambaryan admitted visiting Nigeria for meetings on behalf of Binance and noted the EFCC’s claim that Binance was implicated in foreign exchange violations affecting the Naira’s value.

Additionally, Nwite highlighted that Gambaryan’s colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla, had escaped custody, further justifying concerns about Gambaryan’s potential to flee. Consequently, the bail application was denied.

Background and Ongoing Cases

Gambaryan, along with Binance and the now-fugitive Nadeem Anjarwalla, faces accusations from the Nigerian government of conspiring to conceal the origins of financial proceeds from alleged unlawful activities, including $35.4 million. These actions are purportedly in violation of Section 21(a) and punishable under Section 18(3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.

In addition to the money laundering charges, Binance and its executives are embroiled in a separate tax evasion case with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). The executives have also filed a fundamental rights case against Nigerian government agencies, alleging a violation of their right to liberty.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained on February 28, 2024, following the Nigerian government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency channels amid significant Naira devaluation.

Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan and Binance’s regional manager for Africa, reportedly escaped custody but has since been apprehended in Kenya according to multiple sources.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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