Binance executive detained in Nigeria escapes from custody

By Innocent Raphael

Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the two Binance executives detained in Nigeria for alleged tax evasion and other offences, has allegedly escaped from lawful custody.

Anjarwalla (38) had escaped a day after the Nigerian government slammed a four-count criminal charge on him, Tigran Gambaryan and Binance.

Authorities who are currently working to unveil his intended destination answering questions on how his escape was possible despite the seizure of his British passport, believe the Briton, who also has Kenyan citizenship, must have flown out of the country, using a Middle East airliner.

According to a report by PREMIUM TIMES, Anjarwalla had escaped on Friday, 22 March, from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were detained after guards on duty led him to a nearby mosque for prayers in the spirit of the ongoing Ramadan fast.

According to an Immigration official, he allegedly fled Nigeria using a Kenyan passport, raising questions about its acquisition since he lacked any other travel document besides the British passport at the time of his detention.

Sources suggest that Mr. Anjarwalla, along with another official, were held in comfortable accommodations with various privileges, including telephone usage, which might have facilitated his escape planning.

Regarding inquiries about the escape, Zakari Mijinyawa, Head of Strategic Communication at the Office of the National Security Adviser, promised to investigate but has not provided any updates yet.

Mr. Anjarwalla, Binance’s Africa regional manager, and Tigran Gambaryan, a US citizen overseeing financial crime compliance at the crypto exchange, were detained upon their arrival in Nigeria on February 26, 2024.

They faced criminal charges in a Magistrate Court in Abuja. The court granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a 14-day remand order, extended later due to Binance’s non-compliance with providing Nigerian trading data. The case is adjourned until April 4, 2024.

Additionally, the Nigerian government filed charges against Binance Holdings Limited, Mr. Anjarwalla, and Mr. Gambaryan for alleged tax offenses under various tax laws, accusing them of offering services without proper taxation.

The Nigerian government’s crackdown on suspected money launderers and terrorism financiers, some allegedly using Binance for illicit activities, intensified. They claimed over $21.6 billion was traded by concealed Nigerian identities on Binance, impacting the economy negatively.

This crackdown followed Binance’s settlement of criminal money laundering charges with the US Department of Justice, involving a $4.3 billion payment and the resignation of its founder and CEO, Changpeng Zhao, whose trial was postponed to April 30 by the US court.

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