Binance: US congressmen seek Biden’s intervention…Here’s what you need to know

 Binance: US congressmen seek Biden’s intervention…Here’s what you need to know

Image credit: Arise news

Sixteen Republican congressmen seek US President Joe Biden’s intervention in the Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan case, even as the Federal government insists on Binance’s appearance in court.

The Federal government of Nigeria on Wednesday maintained that Gambaryan had a case to answer in court, despite US lawmakers accusing Nigeria of taking him “hostage” and urging President Joe Biden to help secure his release.

The letter stated that Gambaryan had been unlawfully detained in Abuja since April. It read, “The charges against Mr. Gambaryan are baseless and constitute a coercion tactic by the Nigerian government to extort his employer, Binance,” the lawmakers wrote in the June 4 letter, a copy of which was seen by Bloomberg. “Following these charges, Mr. Gambaryan qualifies as a ‘U.S. citizen wrongfully detained by a foreign government.”

“The faceoff between Africa’s most populous country and the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange burst into view in February, when Nigerian authorities detained Gambaryan and a colleague—who subsequently escaped—during a visit to discuss the company’s compliance issues with the country.

“After two rounds of meetings, which were described as starting professionally and then becoming increasingly hostile, the government of Nigeria took Mr. Gambaryan hostage,” the lawmakers wrote.

This issue of illegal detainment was, however, denied by Nigerian information minister Mohammed Idris.

Idris, in a telephone interview with a news medium, stated, “Nobody is being kept outside our laws and nobody’s life is in danger.” “They have committed a crime,” he added.

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Here’s What to know

Nigeria’s financial officials claimed that Binance, which was very popular with Nigerians, had contributed to the local currency’s 68 percent fall against the dollar since foreign exchange rules were eased last year.

Olayemi Cardoso, Nigerian Central Bank Governor, in a press conference on February 27, decried “illicit flows” after the Naira’s decline, stating that $26 billion had passed through Binance in Nigeria “from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify.”

Binance Holdings Limited executive Tigran Gambaryan was accused, alongside the company, of non-payment of value-added tax and corporate income tax, and aiding customers in evading taxes through its platform.

Gambaryan was held at a guesthouse before formal charges were brought against him and Binance Holdings Limited in an Abuja court in April.

He is now being held at the Kuje correctional centre, a high-security prison in Abuja.

He last appeared in court on May 23, 2023, but the hearing was adjourned until June 20, 2023, after his lawyer pleaded ill health.

This is, however, the firm’s latest legal issue. On April 30, its founder, Changpeng Zhao, was sentenced to four months in prison in the US for lapses that permitted cybercriminals and terrorist groups to trade freely on its platform. In November, Binance agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle the US allegations.

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