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Detained Employee Not Part of Binance Management, Says Crypto Firm

by News Desk
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Binance has said that its employee, Tigran Gambaryan, who is currently held in Nigeria, is not part of the company’s management team.

The crypto exchange giant clarified that Gambaryan, an American, only serves as a law enforcement officer and does not have the power to make decisions.

The company disclosed this in a statement sent to The PUNCH on Wednesday.

In February, Gambaryan and his colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla from Binance Holdings Limited, were arrested in Nigeria on suspicion of involvement in money laundering activities.

Among other charges, the firm and the two employees were charged last Thursday for $35,400,000 money laundering at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

While Gambaryan remains in custody, Anjarwalla escaped and fled the country.

Despite inquiries by The PUNCH regarding Anjarwalla’s whereabouts, Binance has yet to respond.

Part of Binance’s statement reads, “Tigran is a strict law enforcement professional and is not part of Binance management. While he has left the official service of the U.S. government, he has remained fully committed to the role of law enforcement officer ever since, operating as a global advocate for good governance and transparent regulatory financial practices.

“Binance respectfully requests that Tigran Gambaryan, who has no decision-making power in the company, is not held responsible while current discussions are ongoing between Binance and Nigerian government officials.”

The exchange explained that Gambaryan was hired in 2021 to help Binance fix past compliance issues.

Binance stated that as the head of Binance’s Financial Crime Compliance team, Gambaryan has been a strong advocate for the company to develop policies and build compliance capabilities that set new industry standards.

“In 2022 and 2023, Tigran’s Financial Crime Compliance team assisted global law enforcement in freezing and seizing more than $2.2b worth of assets, including more than $285m in cooperation with United States agencies like the FBI, DOJ, DEA, and others,” it said.

According to Binance, Gambaryan and his team provided multiple training sessions for Nigerian crime fighters on the role of exchanges in the digital-asset ecosystem.

“This included a three-hour online workshop for 70 Nigerian EFCC officials in mid-2023 and, late last year, two full-day sessions for EFCC officials in Abuja and Lagos, with more than 30 investigators attending each of them,” the company noted.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will arraign Binance Holdings Limited, Gambaryan, and Anjarwalla on Thursday on charges of $35,400,000 money laundering.

The EFCC, having fully taken over the case from the Office of the National Security Adviser, has detained Gambaryan and obtained a court warrant to arrest and extradite Anjarwalla, who escaped custody.

On Monday last week, the Federal Government contacted INTERPOL and issued an arrest warrant for Anjarwalla’s arrest.

The PUNCH reported earlier that the EFCC is now partnering with the International Criminal Police Organisation, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and the Kenyan government to effect the arrest and extradition of Anjarwalla.

The Financial Times reported on February 28, 2024, that two executives of the company were arrested and detained after flying into the country following a ban on their website.

On March 12, 2024, the FT reported that the EFCC asked Binance to provide data on its top 100 users in Nigeria as well as all transaction history for the past six months.

This request is currently being negotiated between Binance and Nigeria.

Punch

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