Tigran Gambaryan Refused Bail by Nigerian Court

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  • A Nigerian court has denied bail to Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan, citing him as a flight risk
  • The court has also allowed the EFCC to serve Binance with a tax evasion charge through Gambaryan
  • Gambaryan has marked his 40th birthday in Kuje prison, with his wife pleading for his release

A Nigerian court has denied bail to detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan, citing him as a flight risk. This decision was announced on Friday by a spokesperson for Gambaryan’s family, with Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also allowed to serve Binance with a Federal Inland Revenue Service tax evasion charge through Gambaryan. The executive, who saw in his 40th birthday in detention on Friday, is currently detained in Kuje prison, known for housing high-profile inmates including Boko Haram members.

EFCC Holding Gambaryan Responsible for Binance’s Actions

Gambaryan, Binance’s Head of Compliance, faces charges of money laundering and tax evasion, with the EFCC saying that he should be responsible for the actions of the exchange as a whole. The bail hearing and related proceedings took place on Friday, Gambaryan’s 40th birthday, where the court ruled that the company could be served with the tax evasion charges through its executive.

Gambaryan’s legal team opposed the amended charge, arguing they needed time to review it and properly advise their client. The court agreed to delay the arraignment until May 22, when the formal charges will be presented.

The news was broken by Gambaryan’s family, with his wife, Yuki, issuing a plea for the Nigerian authorities to see sense:

I truly cannot believe that my innocent husband is now – on his 40th birthday – having to face a trial for charges that he has nothing to do with. The whole world is watching what he is being put through, and I just pray that common sense and justice will prevail and that Tigran will be allowed to come home to us.

Gambaryan has been held in Nigeria since February after arriving with British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who has since escaped custody. The charges were filed against Binance and its executives a month later, leading to Gambaryan’s transfer to Kuje prison while awaiting trial. 

Trial Adjourned Until Thursday

Friday saw the money laundering trial begin, with Nigerian prosecutor Abdulkadir Abbas from the Nigerian SEC being called as the first witness. After the prosecution’s examination, Gambaryan’s lawyers requested a brief pause to obtain certified records of documents for their cross-examination. The trial was adjourned until May 23 at noon.

A Binance spokesperson expressed disappointment over Gambaryan’s continued detention, emphasizing that he had “no decision-making power in the company” and that he has been “dedicated to public service and fighting crime for most of his life.”

Binance’s CEO, Richard Teng, has also publicly urged the Nigerian government to release Gambaryan, reiterating the call for justice and fairness in the ongoing legal proceedings.