US Lawmakers Call on Biden to Secure Release of Detained Binance Executive from Nigeria

US Lawmakers Urge Biden to Rescue Detained Binance Executive from Nigeria

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers is calling on President Joe Biden to intervene and secure the release of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive who has been detained in Nigeria for nearly three months. Gambaryan, a US citizen and head of compliance for Binance, was arrested by Nigerian authorities on February 26, 2024, along with another executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla. While Anjarwalla managed to escape custody, Gambaryan remains detained in Nigeria.

The effort to secure Gambaryan’s release involves eleven congressional leaders, led by Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They have sent a letter to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger D. Carstens, urging them to classify Gambaryan’s situation as a hostage crisis and take immediate action.

The lawmakers expressed concerns for Gambaryan’s safety and health, noting that he collapsed in court on May 24 and is suspected of having malaria. His family has also raised alarm about his deteriorating health, citing the lack of proper medical care during his detention.

The Nigerian government initially invited Gambaryan and Anjarwalla to resolve a dispute involving the cryptocurrency exchange Binance. However, upon their arrival, they were detained and accused of money laundering and tax evasion. The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has charged the two executives with evading taxes and laundering over $35 million, although no formal indictment has been made against Binance itself.

The US Chamber of Digital Commerce has raised concerns about Gambaryan’s detention, describing it as arbitrary and lacking due process. They argue that his continued detention without proper medical care is threatening his life and challenges international law and diplomatic relations.

As pressure mounts on the Biden administration, the focus is on expediting diplomatic channels to secure Gambaryan’s release. This situation is seen as a critical test for US foreign policy in protecting its citizens from what they perceive as unlawful detentions by foreign governments. The outcome of this case could influence future diplomatic strategies and the regulatory environment for international business operations, especially in regions with complex legal landscapes.

All eyes are now on the US administration’s response and the subsequent developments in Nigerian courts as efforts continue to bring Gambaryan home.