Nigeria: Releasing Binance executive from custody risky, EFCC insists

Nigeria: Releasing Binance executive from custody risky, EFCC insists

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has urged Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja to deny the bail application of Tigran Gambaryan, the detained Binance Holdings Limited executive. The EFCC argued that it would be too risky to grant bail to Gambaryan, citing the escape of his co-defendant, Nadeem Anjarwalla, from the custody of the National Security Adviser and his subsequent flight to Kenya. The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Emeka Iheanacho, also revealed an alleged plot by Gambaryan to obtain a new passport to facilitate his escape from Nigeria after his original passport had been seized by the EFCC.

Gambaryan, Anjarwalla, and Binance Holdings Limited are facing money laundering charges brought by the EFCC. The agency accuses them of concealing the source of $35.4 million in revenue generated by Binance in Nigeria, knowing that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activity.

During the bail application hearing, the EFCC prosecutor argued that Gambaryan had attempted to procure another travel document even though he was aware that his passport was in the custody of the state. The prosecutor also highlighted that Gambaryan had made moves to escape from custody and leave the country, but was intercepted by EFCC operatives.

The EFCC expressed concerns about releasing Gambaryan on bail, emphasizing that he had no attachment to any community in Nigeria and that there was a high risk of him fleeing like Anjarwalla. The agency stated that since Binance operates virtually, Gambaryan is the main person they have to hold on to. Therefore, they urged the court to refuse bail to the defendant.

Gambaryan’s lawyer, Mark Mordi, argued that his client’s continued detention was a form of state-sanctioned hostage-taking. He stated that there was no evidence to suggest that Gambaryan was a flight risk and challenged the prosecution to present any incriminating documents. Mordi maintained that there was no credible evidence to justify denying bail to his client.

After hearing arguments from both parties, Justice Nwite adjourned the case until May 17 for ruling on the bail application.

The case continues to unfold, and the outcome of the bail application will determine whether Gambaryan remains in custody or is released pending trial.

Post a Comment

Translate »