Calls to Secure Release of Tigran Gambaryan

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A group of more than 100 former US federal prosecutors has urged the United States government to intensify efforts to secure the release of Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan from Nigerian custody, according to a June 6 letter.

Gambaryan, Binance’s head of compliance, and his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla were detained in Nigeria in February following a contentious meeting with the African country’s government. While Anjarwalla managed to escape in March, Gambaryan remains imprisoned.

In the letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the former prosecutors criticized the US government’s lack of action, warning of potentially dire consequences. They wrote:

“Tigran is now being held on false charges related to money laundering and tax evasion. He is completely innocent of these charges and, as a mid-tier employee at Binance, does not hold a role that makes him an appropriate stand-in for the company.”

‘Unjust and inhumane’

The group highlighted Gambaryan’s extensive service in law enforcement, where he handled significant cases involving national security, terrorism financing, and identity theft.

They assert his innocence and argue that his detention is an attempt to pressure Binance into settlements with the Nigerian government, adding that his continued imprisonment was unjust and inhumane.

They stated:

“[Gambaryan] is currently held at Kuje Prison, which has housed some of Nigeria’s worst criminals, including Boko Haram members. His rights to legal counsel and family contact have been severely restricted.”

Increased calls for diplomatic action

Notably, this appeal coincides with increasing calls for diplomatic action on the case between the Nigerian government and Gambaryan.

Earlier in the week, several US lawmakers urged President Joe Biden to intervene in the matter because Gambaryan was being wrongfully detained and was charged with several baseless crimes.

However, the Nigerian government has publicly maintained its adherence to due process in the ongoing legal proceedings against Binance and Gambaryan. According to the authorities, the accused will have the opportunity to defend themselves against the charges in court—the next hearing on the case is scheduled for June 20.

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