Binance working with Nigeria govt to resolve exec’s detention, CEO says

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

The CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance addressed the detention of its head of financial crime compliance by Nigerian authorities, stating that the company is actively collaborating with them to address the matter.

Tigran Gambaryan, the executive in question, along with another Binance official, are facing allegations of laundering over $35 million, with the court adjourning the case until May 2, as reported by the country’s anti-corruption body on April 8.

Richard Teng, the CEO, discussed Gambaryan’s case during the Token2049 crypto conference in Dubai, emphasizing Binance’s close engagement with Nigerian authorities to seek resolution. Nadeem Anjarwalla, another executive involved and a British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, fled Nigeria last month.

Anjarwalla and Gambaryan traveled to Nigeria after the country banned several cryptocurrency trading websites, only to be detained upon arrival on Feb. 26 by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Apart from the EFCC case, Nigeria’s tax agency, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, has charged Binance and the executives with tax evasion, with a court appearance scheduled for Friday.

“This was a one-off. It’s never happened to us before,” stated Binance’s head of regional markets Vishal Sacheendran, declining to comment on the charges against the company during the Dubai conference.

In addition to addressing the Nigerian situation, Binance announced on Thursday that it had obtained a license from Dubai’s regulator VARA, allowing the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange to target retail clients alongside qualified and institutional ones.

Bloomberg had earlier reported, based on sources, that obtaining the license involved Binance’s founder and former CEO Changpeng Zhao relinquishing voting control of the Dubai unit.

Regarding this, Teng stated, “That’s pure speculation. Again, we don’t comment on media speculation… Our relationship, our dealings with regulators are confidential,” when asked about the report by Reuters.

The European Union’s securities watchdog recently highlighted that “crypto exchanges largely operate outside of national legal frameworks,” with Binance claiming to not have a headquarters.

When asked about the selection process for its global headquarters, Teng informed Reuters that the company had identified potential locations but refrained from disclosing specifics or a timeline for a definitive decision.

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