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U.S. Reps Urge Biden to Pressure Nigeria For Binance Exec’s Release

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A group of U.S. lawmakers has urged Presient Joe Biden to pressure the Federal Government to release detained Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan.

The group, in a letter dated June 4, 2024, accused Nigeria of wrongfully detaining Gambaryan, whom they describe as a Binance compliance officer and former federal agent, on charges of money laundering and tax evasion.

The letter was addressed to President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger D. Carstens.

The group urged swift action to secure Gambaryan’s release.

“Tigran Gambaryan has been held in Nigeria for over three months on baseless charges,” the letter states.  We fear for his life.

“Immediate action is essential to ensure his safety and preserve his life. We must act swiftly before it is too late.”

Gambaryan, who is currently being tried at an Abuja court, arrived Nigeria on February 26, at the invitation of the Federal Government, to address compliance issues related to Binance.

His company has claimed that the meetings were, initially, professional but soon became hostile, leading to his detention. Gambaryan was arrested and arraigned at the same time as British-Kenyan Nadeem Anjarwalla, who later escaped from the Abuja guest house where the pair was detained.

The letter says, “Mr. Gambaryan’s background is impressive and distinguished. He served at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for over ten years before joining the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, where he is the Head of Financial Crime Compliance.

“During his tenure as an IRS agent, he successfully led some of the most prolific cyber investigations in U.S. history, seizing $4.725 billion in illicit funds for the U.S. government.

“Mr. Gambaryan’s legacy of dedication to justice and the law continued even after he left federal service.”

The legislators highlighted his contributions to justice and law enforcement, noting that he led significant cyber investigations and seized billions in illicit funds.

The letter says, “Tigran has been denied bail and subjected to harsh treatment. He hasn’t been allowed to meet his legal team without the presence of Nigerian authorities and armed guards.

“The government has admitted openly in court that Tigran is being tried in lieu of pursuing legal action against his employer. On April 24th, the Nigerian government pleaded with the judge to deny bail, stating, “The 1st defendant (Binance) is operating virtually. The only thing we have to hold on to is this defendant (Tigran). So, we pray, My Lord, to refuse bail to the defendant.

“Mr. Gambaryan’s detainment has been marked by excessive and harsh treatment. Further, he is not permitted to meet with his legal team without the presence of government officials and armed guards.

“It is crucial to emphasize that the charges against Mr. Gambaryan are baseless and constitute a coercion tactic by the Nigerian government to extort his employer, Binance.”

The group stressed the urgency of transferring Gambaryan’s case to the US Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs to ensure his safety and expedite his release.

“Clearly, Mr. Gambaryan is a U.S. citizen being wrongfully detained by the Government of Nigeria,” the letter stressed

“On behalf of Mr. Gambaryan, his family, and concerned Americans, we urgently request and strongly encourage the transfer of his case to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.

The congressmen and congresswomen who signed the letter are Rail Mill Rich McCormick; Michael T. McCaul, the Chairman House Foreign Affairs Committee; Jordanilk Barry; Austin Scott;  Earl L. “Buddy” Carter; Randy K. Weber, Sr; Bill Huizenga; Ann Wagner; Aumua Amata Coleman; Coleman Radewagen; Bill Huzeinga; Keith Self; Thomas H. Kean, Jr.; French Hill ; Joe Wilson; Christopher H. Smith; Warren Davidson; and Andy Barr.

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