Politicians urge Biden to bring back Binance exec from Nigeria

Several United States politicians have reportedly asked President Joe Biden and the hostage affairs unit to try to bring Binance employee Tigran Gambaryan home, who has been held in Nigeria for over three months on charges of money laundering and tax evasion.

In a June 4 letter addressed to President Biden, Secretary Antony Blinken, and the Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger D. Carstens, 12 U.S. politicians stressed that Gambaryan remains “wrongfully detained” by the Nigerian government and that action needs to be taken now before the situation worsens.

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

The U.S. politicians specifically want the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs to handle Gambaryan’s case, the letter said, which was shared on X by Fox Business reporter Eleanor Terrett.

The letter, signed mostly by Congress members, noted that Gambaryan had been charged with several “baseless” crimes, including money laundering and tax evasion, which they believe is part of a coercion tactic by Nigerian authorities to extort Binance.

Source: Eleanor Terrett

Gambaryan, who serves as the cryptocurrency exchange’s head of financial crime compliance, traveled to Nigeria on Feb. 26 after the Nigerian government invited him to address Binance’s compliance issues in the country.

However, after two meetings, which were described as starting professional and then becoming increasingly hostile, Nigerian authorities detained Gambaryan.

The Binance executive is currently based in Nigeria’s “notorious” Kuje Prison, known for its harsh conditions. He has been fighting “for his life inside a prison cell designed to hold ISIS combatants,” the U.S. politicians said.

Gambaryan has since tested positive for malaria, and a court order to send him to a private hospital for private treatment hasn’t been followed, the U.S. politicians said.

Related: Binance.US wins appeal to reinstate Florida money services license

Gambaryan was denied bail on May 18. Four days later, on May 22, Gambaryan failed to appear in a scheduled court hearing. The court, prosecutors, and defense team were unaware of his whereabouts or condition.

U.S. politicians said Gambaryan was present when the court reconvened the next day. However, his physical state had been noticeably diminished, they said.

“When Mr. Gambaryan was asked to step forward by the judge, he could not stand on his own and ultimately collapsed to the floor.”

The U.S. politicians also said Gambaryan hasn’t been allowed to meet his legal team without the presence of Nigerian authorities and armed guards.

Prior to Binance, Gambaryan was a federal agent and worked at the Internal Revenue Service for ten years.

Magazine: Cleaning up crypto: How much enforcement is too much?

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