CEO Criticizes Nigeria’s Detention of Binance Executives as Setting a Hazardous Precedent

The CEO of Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange, criticized Nigeria for what he deemed a troubling precedent after the detention of its executives during a crackdown on crypto. Binance, known as the world’s largest crypto exchange, and two of its executives are facing separate trials over tax evasion and money laundering, which the company is disputing. CEO Richard Teng voiced concern over the detention of Tigran Gambaryan, an American citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance.

The other executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British Kenyan serving as a regional manager for Africa, fled Nigeria in March. Teng revealed that Binance executives initially engaged in meetings with Nigerian authorities in January, followed by a subsequent meeting on February 26. During this meeting, authorities categorized the issues concerning Binance as matters of national security, demanding the delisting of the naira currency from its platform and detailed information on all Nigerian users, leading to the detention of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla.

Teng criticized the detention of Binance’s employees after they were invited for collaborative policy discussions, viewing it as a troubling precedent globally. He highlighted Gambaryan’s prolonged detention in Nigeria for what he described as baseless reasons. Binance halted all transactions and trading in naira in early March with the expectation that their colleagues would be released and negotiations with Nigerian authorities would continue, a hope that wasn’t realized. Teng urged for Gambaryan’s release while expressing Binance’s commitment to resolving any issues with the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service regarding potential tax liabilities through continued engagement.