Binance Exec Tigran Gambaryan Denied Bail by Nigerian Court

The Nigerian court also ruled that the Binance exchange can be served the FIRS tax evasion charges through its executive Tigran Gambaryan.

AccessTimeIconMay 17, 2024 at 12:48 p.m. UTC
Updated May 20, 2024 at 7:04 p.m. UTC
  • Tigran Gambaryan’s bail was refused by a Nigerian court on Friday.
  • Nigeria has taken Binance and its executives to court and is pursuing tax evasion and money laundering charges.

Detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan’s bail application was denied by a Nigerian court on the grounds that there is a likelihood that he will manage to jump bail, the spokesperson for the executive’s family said on Friday.

Binance and the executives’ money laundering, tax evasion and the exchanges detained Head of Compliance Tigran Gambaryans bail hearings all occurred on Friday in Nigeria. The court ruled that Binance can be served with the Federal Inland Revenue Service tax evasion charge through Gambaryan.

Tigran’s lawyers objected to the application on the grounds that they needed to review the amended charge to advise Gambaryan on taking his plea. The court agreed to adjourn the matter to May 22 for arraignment, where charges are formally laid against the defendant.

Gambaryan, who turned 40 on Friday, has been detained in Nigeria since February when he arrived with the British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla. Anjarwalla has since escaped.

“I truly cannot believe that my innocent husband is now - on his 40th birthday - having to face a trial for charges that he has nothing to do with,” said Yuki Gambaryan, the wife of Tigran Gambaryan.

“The whole world is watching what he is being put through, and I just pray that common sense and justice will prevail and that Tigran will be allowed to come home to us.”

A month after the exchange’s executives were detained in the country, they, along with the exchange, were charged with money laundering and tax evasion. Gambaryan was later moved to Kuje prison, which also houses the likes of members of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) money laundering trial commenced on Friday with a Nigerian prosecutor who called on Abdulkadir Abbas from the Nigerian SEC as the first prosecution witness.

After the prosecution finished examining their first witness, Tigran’s lawyers asked for a stand down—which means to put a matter on hold for a short while—to obtain certified records of certain documents in the proof of evidence to be used in their cross-examination of the witness. The court adjourned the trial until May 23 at noon.

“We are deeply disappointed that Tigran Gambaryan, who has no decision-making power in the company, continues to be detained. Tigran has been dedicated to public service and fighting crime for most of his life. These charges against him are completely meritless. He should be freed while discussions continue between Binance and Nigerian government officials," a Binance Spokesperson said.

Binance’s CEO Richard Teng recently released a blog post calling on the Nigerian government to release Gambaryan.

UPDATE (May 17, 13:12 UTC): Adds meaning of arraignment to third paragraph. Adds full form of EFCC to the eighth paragraph.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.