Cryptocurrency company executives detained in Nigeria allege wrongful detention News
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Cryptocurrency company executives detained in Nigeria allege wrongful detention

Igran Gambaryan, the Head of Financial Crime Compliance at cryptocurrency exchange company Binance, along with Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s Regional Manager for Africa, initiated legal proceedings on Thursday against Nigeria’s Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

These developments are a result of the Nigerian federal government’s investigations into the platform. The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit released a report alleging that Binance’s platform has been used as a tool for financing terrorism, money laundering and other illicit criminal activities. In addition, Yemi Cardoso, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, claimed that Binance Nigeria has been used for $26 billion in illicit transactions from unidentified sources over the past year.

Nigerian authorities later detained Gambaryan and Anjarwalla and confiscated their passports after a meeting with the ONSA and the EFCC about concerns related to Binance’s business activities in Nigeria. Following his arrest, Anjarawalla escaped and fled the country.

Gambaryan claims that his detention and the confiscation of his passport violated his fundamental right to personal liberty under sections 35 (1) and (4) of the Constitution of Nigeria. His application seeks the following remedies from the Court: (1) immediate release and the return of his passport; (2) a perpetual injunction against further detention by Nigerian authorities in connection to the Binance investigations; (3) a public apology from the ONSA and EFCC; and (3) compensation for legal costs.

During the initial legal proceedings on Tuesday, Tonye Krukrubo, serving as the attorney for both Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, withdrew his representation for Anjarwalla. It has been speculated that this withdrawal may be connected to Anjarwalla’s recent escape from custody, though official reasons remain unspecified.

The case has been adjourned until April 8, allowing time for the ONSA and EFCC to respond and for the applicants to potentially seek new legal representation.