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House Republicans push for Binance executive’s release from Nigeria

In this post:

  • Lawmakers are piling pressure on the Biden administration to help secure the release of Binance executive held hostage in Nigeria.
  • Tigran Gambaryan was detained in February on a trip to meet officials in that country.
  • Nigeria has accused Binance of fueling inflation and exchange rate volatility.

A sixteen-member group of House Republicans is pushing the White House to negotiate for the release of Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan, allegedly held hostage by the Nigerian government. Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep Michael McCaul of Texas makes up part of the group piling pressure on government to expedite Gambaryan’s release.

Also read: Binance’s Gambaryan Denied Bail in Nigeria’s Money Laundering Trial

The lawmakers presented their case via a letter to President Joe Biden and State Department officials including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. In the Tuesday letter, the Republicans pressured the Biden administration to start negotiations to repatriate Gambaryan, a head of financial crimes at Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange.

Gambaryan detained to extort Binance

Gambaryan traveled to Nigeria in February where he was scheduled to meet government officials over the exchange’s compliance issues in that country.

Nigerian officials however arrested the Georgia-based Gambaryan, seized his travel documents, and detained him at Kuje prison near the capital Abuja. The Nigerian government accused Gambaryan of tax evasion, money laundering and providing financial services without approvals.

However, the Republicans believe the charges laid against the US citizen are baseless and “constitute a coercion tactic to extort his employer, Binance.”

The Kuje prison is known for its harsh conditions and for detaining ISIS militants, creating scope for the Republicans to demand the repatriation of the executive. Part of the letter reads:

“Mr Gambaryan’s health and well-being are in danger and we fear for his life. Immediate action is essential to ensure his safety and preserve his life.”

According to the letter, Gambaryan contracted malaria and has been denied proper medical attention by the prison officials. The letter further explains Gambaryan only got medical attention after collapsing in court, prompting the politicians to act with haste.

Nigeria accuses Binance of economic sabotage

The Nigerian government has accused Binance of contributing to the West African country’s economic turmoil. The government believes Binance is responsible for fueling inflation and currency depreciation in the country.

Also read: Binance executive’s bail hearing delayed in Nigeria

Nigeria is facing economic headwinds due to the run-away inflation resulting in waning disposable incomes. The national currency, the naira hit a record low against the US dollar in February this year, a few days before Gambaryan’s visit.

As a result of the currency depreciation, Nigerians have turned to cryptos, especially stablecoins, which are pegged to the dollar to hedge against the exchange rate volatility.


Cryptopolitan reporting by Enacy Mapakame

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Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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