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Nigerian Court Refrains from Extension, Yet Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla Remain Detained Without Charges

by Francesca Annio and Jake Adelstein

As we step into another day of March, the shadows continue to loom over Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, the Binance leaders caught in the grip of Nigerian authorities. Despite the passage of time, with the court-authorized 14-day detention long gone, their release remains a distant hope.

Caught in the storm of Nigeria’s crackdown on cryptocurrency, Tigran and Nadeem, high-ranking executives at Binance, found themselves entangled in a maze of governmental maneuvers. As Nigerian authorities severed ties with major crypto exchanges like Binance last month, citing threats to the national currency, the duo was dispatched to negotiate on Feb. 25. However, their attempts at diplomacy quickly soured, leading to their abrupt detention in a government-controlled guest house after just two meetings. Deprived of their passports and held since Feb. 26, their future is uncertain, with charges against them remaining unspecified.

Locked away unjustly solely because of their association with the leading cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, both Tigran and Nadeem find themselves detained. Tigran, at the helm of Financial Crime Compliance, and Nadeem, representing East and West Africa, were deployed to Nigeria as ambassadors of their company. Their journey was meant for dialogue, not detention.  Yet, instead of negotiations, they face imprisonment.

Chosen for their crucial roles as pillars of integrity, law enforcement, and ethical standards in the cryptocurrency realm, Tigran and Nadeem stood out among their peers. Binance entrusted them with the vital mission of bridging the gap after Nigerian authorities severed ties with Binance and other platforms from telecom services. Yet, their relentless pursuit of fairness was met with unjust detention, leaving them in limbo without a single charge.

Tigran Gambaryan stands as a towering figure in financial law enforcement, committed to cleaning up the cryptocurrency world from illegal activities. Teaming up with the US Secret Service, he’s been a driving force, ensuring fairness and accountability in countless businesses plagued by unlawful practices.

Nadeem Anjarwalla epitomizes humanity and integrity, leading the charge for financial inclusion across Africa and spearheading innovative solutions in a continent historically overlooked. A true trailblazer, he champions his Kenyan roots as regional manager at Binance, tirelessly working to create a more open and accessible financial world.

Their mission seemed straightforward: a swift trip to Nigeria to advocate for compromise, allowing cryptocurrencies to thrive without harming the national currency. Yet, Nigerian authorities turned it into a nightmare, seizing two innocent individuals as scapegoats for the entire industry’s actions. What was supposed to be a brief business trip turned into weeks of distress and uncertainty.

Adding to the distress, the future remains uncertain, with the Nigerian government keeping its plans shrouded in mystery.  Despite presenting their cases during the Abuja court hearing on March 20th, both men saw no relief, as the judge postponed any decision until the session resumes on April 5th. This isn’t just another week of uncertainty – it’s a prolonged ordeal of waiting, isolated from the world, with no clarity in sight.

To add insult to injury, these two innocent men will be unjustly stripped of their freedom for yet another agonizing week, without any justification. They’ll be robbed of the chance to reunite with their families, to carry on with their lives. And in turn, their loved ones will suffer the pain of separation, denied the basic right to share joyful moments and everyday life with them. 

Today, March 21st, marks Nadeem’s son’s first birthday – a milestone he’ll sadly miss. Similarly, Tigran may not be present for his son’s fifth birthday on April 5th. It’s a cruel and heart-wrenching reality for both sides. As time ticks on, they miss out on precious moments that can never be reclaimed.

Their wives have been tirelessly pleading for their release from the very beginning, emerging as unwavering voices in the battle for their husbands’ freedom. Yet, as days turn into weeks with no signs of progress, their optimism begins to wane.

Here are their latest statements:

Elahe Anjarwalla said, “I am completely heartbroken. I was holding on to the hope that Nadeem would be home in time to celebrate our son’s first birthday together and I am devastated this won’t be happening. Nadeem has no authority to make high-level decisions at Binance and I am once again asking from the bottom of my heart that the Nigerian authorities please allow him and Tigran to return home whilst they continue their discussions with Binance. I am also calling on the British and Kenyan governments to do more to get Nadeem back home to us. Please, we just want this nightmare to end.”

Nadeem and his wife Elahe on vacation. His baby son turns one today.

Yuki Gambaryan said, “Tigran was only supposed to be away from us for a very short trip and now over 3 weeks later we have no idea when we will see him again. I don’t know what to tell our two children who rush to the door every time they hear a car, eagerly hoping that their father has finally returned from a very long work trip. Tigran is globally recognized for his work in law enforcement and many of his peers would say that Tigran’s continuous efforts are what keep cryptocurrencies safe and clean. Please let him come home to continue this good work. The longer that our husbands are away from our families, the harder it is becoming for us to go about our daily lives. We are asking you from the bottom of our hearts and with the deepest respect that you please release them so that our families can be complete once again.”

Tigran and his wife Yuki.

As days stretch into nearly a month, Tigran and Nadeem remain unjustly detained, sparking doubts about the actions of their governments, the US and the UK, to secure their return. With all eyes on the upcoming April 5th court hearing, families cling to hope for their loved ones’ freedom. Urging swift and decisive action from all influential parties, families rally for the release of these two innocent men.

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