Home Tech Binance’s Top Crypto Crime Investigator Is Being Detained in Nigeria

Binance’s Top Crypto Crime Investigator Is Being Detained in Nigeria

by Elijah
0 comment
Binance’s Top Crypto Crime Investigator Is Being Detained in Nigeria

In his years as a U.S. federal agent, Tigran Gambaryan helped lead groundbreaking investigations that captured cryptocurrency thieves and money launderers, drug dealers on the dark web, and even crypto-funded child exploitation networks. Now, in his post-government role at the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, he has himself become the target of a very different kind of federal crackdown on cryptocurrencies: Over the past two weeks, he and another Binance manager have been held against their will by Nigerian officials . .

Since February 26, Gambaryan, who now heads Binance’s criminal investigation team, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s Kenya-based regional manager for Africa, have been stripped of their passports and locked up in a government building in the Nigerian capital Abuja. According to their families, neither has been notified of any criminal charges against them. Instead, the two men appear to be involved in the broad Nigerian moves to ban cryptocurrency exchanges amid a drastic devaluation of the country’s national currency, according to the Financial times, who first reported the detention of the two executives without identifying them.

“There’s no definitive answer to anything: how is he doing, what’s going to happen to him, when he comes back,” said Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki Gambaryan. “And the fact that I don’t know that is killing me.”

Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen, and Anjarwalla, a dual citizen of Britain and Kenya, arrived in Abuja on Feb. 25, their families say, following the Nigerian government’s invitation to address its ongoing dispute with Binance. They met with Nigerian officials the next day, intending to speak to the government about its order for the country’s telecom companies to block access to Binance and other cryptocurrency exchanges, which regulators blamed for devaluing the official currency, the naira, and enabling ‘illegal flows’. ” of funds.

Shortly after Gambaryan and Anjarwalla’s first meeting with the Nigerian government, however, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were taken to their hotels, told to pack up and moved to a “guest house” run by Nigeria’s National Security Agency, their families said. Officials confiscated their passports and have since held the two men in the house against their will for two weeks.

Gambaryan was visited by a U.S. State Department official and Anjarwalla by a representative of the British Foreign Office, their families say, but Nigerian government guards have also remained present at those meetings, preventing them from speaking privately.

When WIRED contacted Binance, a spokesperson declined to comment on what the men or the company itself have been charged with or what demands the Nigerian government may have made for their release. “While it is inappropriate for us to comment on the substance of the claims at this time, we can say that we are working with Nigerian authorities to bring Nadeem and Tigran safely home to their families,” a Binance spokesperson told WIRED. “They are professionals of the highest integrity and we will provide them with all possible support. We trust that a resolution to this matter will be found soon.”

You may also like