• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Detained Binance executive escapes from custody, flees Nigeria

Meet the Binance executives detained by Nigeria

Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the executives from Binance detained in Nigeria on allegations of tax evasion and other offenses, has reportedly escape from custody.

Anjarwalla, aged 38, allegedly fled from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were being held, purportedly taking advantage of a moment during Ramadan prayers when guards escorted him.

Despite his British passport remaining under the control of Nigerian authorities, he is believed to have exited the country using a Kenyan passport, Premium Times reported.

Authorities are currently working diligently to determine his intended destination and take steps to apprehend him.

The detention of Anjarwalla and his colleague, Tigran Gambaryan, unfolded after their arrival in Nigeria on February 26, 2024.

They were promptly subjected to criminal charges, including alleged tax-related offenses, leading to their remand by a local court.

In a separate legal maneuver, the Nigerian government brought forth additional charges against Binance Holdings Limited and the two executives, accusing them of conducting operations without the requisite registration and tax compliance.

This development comes against the backdrop of Nigeria’s intensified efforts to combat financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorism financing.

Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform, has found itself at the center of this crackdown.
The Nigerian government alleges that over $21.6 billion in transactions on Binance involved individuals whose identities were shielded, pointing to potential illicit activities such as money laundering, terrorist financing, and market manipulation.

These activities, according to Nigerian authorities, have had adverse effects on the nation’s economy, contributing to currency fluctuations and undermining the value of the Naira.

The detention of Binance executives in Nigeria follows closely on the heels of the platform’s settlement of criminal money laundering charges in the United States.

Binance’s founder and CEO, Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, entered a guilty plea and agreed to resign from his position.

Zhao’s criminal trial, which is linked to the charges brought by the US Department of Justice, has been postponed to April 30.