Monday, March 25, 2024

Detained Binance executive escapes detention in Nigeria amidst probe

 Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the two Binance executives detained in Nigeria has reportedly escaped from lawful custody, according to sources.

These sources revealed that Anjarwalla, aged 38, escaped on Friday, March 22nd, from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were being detained, Premium Times reported.

Guards on duty escorted him to a nearby mosque for prayers as part of the ongoing Ramadan fast.

The British national, who also holds Kenyan citizenship, is believed to have departed Abuja via a Middle Eastern airline.

The circumstances surrounding how Anjarwalla managed to board an international flight despite being in custody and his British passport being held by Nigerian authorities remain unclear.

Authorities are reportedly working to uncover Anjarwalla's intended destination to apprehend him and return him to custody.

According to an Immigration official, the Binance executive fled Nigeria using a Kenyan passport. However, authorities are trying to ascertain how he acquired this passport, as he did not possess any other travel documents apart from his British passport when he was detained.

Before now, WIRED reported that Anjarwalla fell ill while in custody, possibly due to malaria, although the precise nature of his symptoms was unclear.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance's regional manager for Africa, along with Tigran Gambaryan, Binance's head of financial crime compliance and a U.S. citizen had travelled to Nigeria after the country banned several cryptocurrency trading websites to halt what the CBN described as continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds.

Upon their arrival on February 26, they were arrested by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), and criminal charges were filed against the two executives.

Binance was instructed to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with detailed data and information regarding all Nigerian traders on its platform.

According to Yemi Cardoso, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), over $26 billion passed through Binance Nigeria from unknown sources. The government even hit the exchange with a $10 billion fine amidst a crypto exchange probe.

On February 28, 2024, the court granted the EFCC an order to remand the duo for 14 days. Due to Binance’s refusal to comply with the order, the court extended the remand of the officials for an additional 14 days to prevent them from tampering with evidence. The court then adjourned the case till 4 April 2024.

By Adekunle Agbetiloye, Business Insider Africa

Related stories: Nigeria files tax evasion charges against Binance

Court in Nigeria Orders Binance to Relinquish Data of All Nigerians Trading on its Platform

Video - Nigeria detains Binance executives

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