Detained Binance Execs Complain of Human Rights Abuse

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  • Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla have sued Nigerian authorities for alleged human rights violations following their detention in the country
  • The pair face charges of tax evasion amidst Nigeria’s crypto crackdown, prompting their legal action demanding release, passport return, and an apology
  • The lawsuit, filed in the Federal High Court in Abuja, comes as Anjarwalla is still on the run

Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla have taken legal action against the National Security Adviser and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria following their detention. The pair were detained in late February when the countries’ authorities clamped down on crypto use, with charges of tax evasion coming last week for the men and the company likewise. The pair’s lawsuit, filed in the Federal High Court in Abuja, accuses Nigerian authorities of violating their fundamental human rights, demanding their release, the return of their passports, and a public apology.

Pair Accused of Tax Evasion

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla have been held by Nigerian authorities in a ‘guest house’ run by the country’s National Security Agency since February 28 following the government’s crypto crackdown.

The pair finally learned of their alleged crimes last week, a month after their apprehension: Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) unsealed the charges against the company and its two high-ranking employees, alleging non-compliance with value-added tax and income tax and involvement in aiding customers in tax evasion through its platform. 

FIRS representatives didn’t appear at the court hearing over the charges, which has been adjourned until April 8, reflecting the ongoing legal standoff between the parties involved.

Anjarwall Still on the Run

In a scenario reminiscent of a spy thriller, Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa, managed to escape custody last week after being taken to a mosque for prayers, leaving Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, with a choice of beds. 

Anjarwalla’s absconsion didn’t seem to impact the filing of the lawsuit, although it may impact its chances of success, which were already looking slim.