Binance Executive Denied Bail in Nigeria Federal High Court

Head Prosecutor Iheanocho opposed bail and urged the Federal High Court  to deny bail application 

Tigran Gambaryan, a senior executive at Binance has been denied bail by the Federal High Court in Nigeria in money laundering trial. 

According to a local media report, Judge Emeka Nwite denied the bail application, stating that Gambaryan posed a flight risk and would likely flee if released.  

The judge noted that the Binance executive had attempted to secure a new passport, claiming that the previous one was stolen.  

Court’s Bail denial 

The Prosecution Counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, argued that Gambaryan has no significant ties to any Nigerian community and is likely to abscond if granted bail, like his colleague Anjarwalla, who escaped custody on March 22 to Kenya. 

“The fact that the defendant’s passport is with the complainant does not guarantee that he will remain in Nigeria because the defendant is not only an American citizen but also an Armenian citizen by birth,” Iheanacho said. 

He urged the court to deny the bail application and remand him in EFCC custody to ensure his safety and prevent flight risk.   

Details of Charges 

Following the government’s crackdown to strengthen the naira, Binance, and its executives face criminal charges in Nigeria, including tax evasion, currency speculation, and money laundering of approximately $35.4 million.  

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), over $26 billion was channeled without a trace through the exchange’s platform.  

Gambaryan pleaded not guilty to tax evasion and money laundering charges brought by the EFCC.  He then sued the Nigerian government, claiming his detention and passport confiscation violated his constitutional right to personal liberty.

Binance CEO Calls for the Release of Gambaryan 

Binance CEO Richard Teng has publicly commented on Gambaryan’s ongoing detention, claiming that the crypto exchange’s compliance officer is “innocent and must be released.” 

 “To invite a company’s mid-level employees for collaborative policy meetings, only to detain them, has set a dangerous new precedent for all companies worldwide,” Teng said

Meanwhile, on March 5, Binance announced it would cease all Nigerian naira transactions after delisting all naira trading pairs from its peer-to-peer platform in late February.