• Nigeria disputes US lawmakers’ claims that incarcerated Binance executive is being denied care

    Nigeria disputes us lawmakers claims that incarcerated binance executive is being denied care - nigeria newspapers online
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    Nigeria disputes US lawmakers’ claims that incarcerated Binance executive is being denied care


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    US lawmakers have in recent weeks reported that imprisoned Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan was suffering in horrible prison conditions. Furthermore, they claimed that he was being denied access to medical attention.

    The gravity of the matter called for immediate action or a response to the claims made by the lawmakers. The US had to wait until Wednesday 26th when Nigeria responded to the allegations, immediately rejecting them.

    Speaking to DL News, Nigeria’s Ministry of Information and National Orientation said that Gambaryan was being held in lawful detention and had access to quality medical care whenever required.

    The ministry added that Gambaryan had access to consular services from his government.


    Binance’s reputation in Nigeria

    This development represents yet another dire turn in the ongoing crisis on Binance, a leading cryptocurrency exchange platform in the world. Nigeria is one of Africa’s most important markets for the company, and the ongoing case appears to be bad news for the Nigerian market.

    When people go online to search and interact with a financial platform, user-friendliness, mobile compatibility, and allowing quick withdrawals are always key priorities, alongside a good reputation.

    Binance understands these priorities and also utilizes user bonuses, much like online casino bonuses, to incentivize the user experience.

    Nevertheless, protecting the reputation of a company as big as Binance usually proves to be a difficult task especially when the company is hit with tax violation allegations.

    Back in April, Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), had charged Binance with tax violations as Gambaryan was being detained.


    Visit by the Congress Members

    Gambaryan was visited at Kuje Prison in Abuja by Representative French Hill, a Republican from Arkansas, and Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. They stated that he had both double pneumonia and malaria.

    The congress members added that his health status was due to poor health conditions and lack of access to proper medical care. Their statements corroborate those of Gambaryan’s family and legal counsel regarding his deteriorating health.

    The judge overseeing Gambaryan’s case had ordered his hospitalization on May 23 after he collapsed during court proceedings. The said incident occurred on the second day of the executive’s money laundering trial, which saw him faint when he was called to the dock.

    His lead attorney, Mark Modi, pointed out how his client’s collapse was a result of his worsening health, having been incarcerated in the African nation’s prison system for months.

    The executive is currently on trial in Nigeria on a $35 million money laundering indictment. His prolonged incarceration has been termed by his lawyers as “state-sanctioned hostage-taking.”

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    Concerns raised by family members

    According to Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki, in a previous statement, prison officials disregarded the court order for nearly two weeks and only took him for a routine check-up, refusing to share the results with his family, attorneys, or the US embassy.

    Yuki also complained that the prison officials had listed an unidentified official as her husband’s next of kin. This was despite written requests by his lawyers, family, and the US embassy to change it.


    What this means for Nigerian users

    From a user’s point of view, we bet it doesn’t feel alright to be associated with a platform that is battling cases with the government in court.

    A cryptocurrency trader, and a potential investor, especially someone in the Nigerian market wouldn’t be happy to see news that an executive of Binance and the company itself have been charged with money laundering in transactions amounting to $35 million.

    Such cases paint a bad picture and may negatively affect the Nigerian users of the Binance platform.


    The government’s take on the matter

    Gambaryan wasn’t aware that almost four months after traveling to Nigeria, he would still be held in the country following the dispute between the Nigerian government and Binance.

    He and a colleague had traveled to the West African country back in February to honor an invitation from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the country’s national security advisor.

    When the meeting was concluded, Gambaryan and his colleague were detained leading to a series of court proceedings. EFCC revealed that it will continue to prosecute both the executive and Binance. The government of Nigeria also seems to agree with the EFCC proceedings.

    The ministry voiced the government’s stand on the matter, saying that the Federal Government of Nigeria would continue to follow due process in its quest to bring Binance to justice.

    They added that the process was a legitimate and sovereign quest that is similarly being pursued in several other countries around the world.


    What happens next

    The Biden administration, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Biden himself, had been urged to get involved in the case by several US officials, including members of Congress and former federal prosecutors.

    As it stands, there are no signs that the Nigerian government will give in to the political pressure surrounding Gambaryan’s detention.


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