In a recent development, global cryptocurrency exchange Binance is facing increased legal pressure in Nigeria. Tigran Gambaryan, the United States-based director of Binance, is currently detained in Nigeria amid escalating problems for the company in the country.

New charges against Binance

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal on April 3, Nigeria has filed new charges against Binance. This despite the stock exchange’s attempts to enter into a dialogue with local regulators. The trouble started when local regulators accused Binance of contributing to the collapse of the Nigerian naira in February 2024.

In response to these allegations, Binance has been working closely with Nigerian authorities. Despite this, Bayo Onanuga, the presidential adviser on information and strategy, suggested banning platforms like Binance in Nigeria.

In response to the threatened ban, two senior executives from Binance, including Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, traveled to Nigeria in an attempt to dialogue with authorities. However, both executives were detained despite Binance previously halting all naira transactions.

Worsening of the situation

The situation worsened when Nigeria’s Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) announced it was preparing to file formal charges against Gambaryan and Anjarwalla for money laundering, estimated to be worth more than $35.4 million. The announcement came after Anjarwalla reportedly fled the country with a fake passport on March 22, following a prayer visit to a local mosque.

Binance recently released a statement calling for Gambaryan’s release, emphasizing that as a director he has decisive power within the company and should not be held responsible during the ongoing talks.

Formal charges tomorrow

The EFCC plans to formally charge Gambaryan and Anjarwalla on April 4 with five counts of money laundering. The case will be heard by Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja, with Anjarwalla summoned in absentia.

These developments mark a turbulent period for Binance in Nigeria, amid increasing global attention on the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges.


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