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Calls for Biden’s Intervention in Freeing Binance Officials Grow

The call for the Biden administration to take decisive steps to free Binance’s detained officials has intensified. Key figures at Binance, Tigran Gambaryan, a former U.S. federal agent, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, have been held in Nigeria since February 26, 2024. The U.S. Chamber of Digital Commerce is spearheading efforts for their release, highlighting the situation in a March 15 blog post and stressing the urgency of diplomatic efforts to rectify this severe injustice.

Highlighting the Risks for American Entrepreneurs Overseas The Chamber points out the arrest of Gambaryan under dubious conditions as a concerning sign for American entrepreneurs globally, especially in the digital currency sector. They assert that Gambaryan’s arrest is not just a legal battle but also a critical issue of national pride and the safeguarding of U.S. citizens’ rights worldwide.

The lack of fair legal processes in Gambaryan’s case poses a threat to the norms of international law and the state of diplomatic ties. Notably, Nigeria, a recipient of over $1 billion in foreign aid from the U.S., is considered an ally of the United States.

Initial reports about the detention of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla came to light in late February, with the Financial Times reporting on the incident without naming the Binance executives.

Details of the Detention Family members say that Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, the latter a UK and Kenya dual national, traveled to Abuja on an invitation from the Nigerian government on February 25 to discuss a dispute with Binance over alleged illegal operations. The next day, their meeting with Nigerian officials, aimed at discussing the government’s order to telecom providers to block access to Binance and other crypto exchanges, took an unexpected turn. Officials blame crypto exchanges for the naira’s devaluation and enabling illegal financial transactions.

However, instead of resolving the issue, the executives were taken from their meeting to their hotels to pack up, then moved to a “guesthouse” managed by Nigeria’s National Security Agency, their families report.

Their arrest predates Binance’s announcement to leave Nigeria on March 5, adding layers to the situation. Gambaryan’s career before Binance includes working on significant cases such as the Silk Road dark-web marketplace investigation and dismantling the Welcome to Video network involved in distributing child abuse materials via cryptocurrency.

Following regulatory pressures, Binance recently announced the suspension of services involving the Nigerian naira (NGN), including halting NGN withdrawals after March 8. This decision came after the Nigerian government’s substantial $10 billion fine on Binance, aiming to protect the local currency’s value.

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