108 ex-prosecutors, feds echo calls to rescue Binance exec in Nigeria

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Over 100 former United States federal prosecutors and agents have put their names on a letter pressuring the U.S. Department of State to secure the release of Tigran Gambaryan, the head of financial crimes and compliance at Binance, from custody in Nigeria.

“The U.S. government’s efforts to date have been wholly lacking, and the consequences of further inaction are potentially dire,” the June 6 letter addressed to the Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared.

The cohort of former government officials acknowledged Gambaryan’s decade-long service to the nation as a Special Agent with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“Several of us worked alongside Tigran during these cases and saw his tireless devotion to the rule of law firsthand,” it noted, before listing types of cases he has previously worked on, ranging from child pornography and terrorism financing to identity theft and even “the Silk Road public corruption cases.”

Partial list of signatories of the letter,  with the total amounting to 108. Source: Axios/Document Cloud

Gambaryan is a “mid-tier” exec

The cohort claims that Tigran is now being held in custody on “false charges” in relation to money laundering and tax evasion, and his position at Binance should not see him bearing responsibility for the company’s actions. 

“He is completely innocent of these charges and, as a mid-tier employee at Binance, does not hold a role that makes him an appropriate stand-in for the company,” it wrote.

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In January, Tigran, accompanied by other Binance employees, traveled to Nigeria to engage in discussions with Nigerian officials regarding financial compliance.

After the meeting, Nigerian officials approached them, requesting a “substantial payment” to address reported compliance issues related to Binance.

Concerned for their safety, they promptly departed the country shortly after. However, Tigran was invited back to the country just a month later, where he reportedly had his “passport confiscated and was arrested.”

In February, the Nigerian government arrested Gambaryan, and Nadeem Anjarwalla on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion. Anjarwalla evaded custody and fled to Kenya, while Gambaryan remained in the Kuje correctional center in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

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