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Biden pressured to intervene in US citizens detention by Nigeria

Validated Media

The administration of United States President Joe Biden is under increasing pressure to promptly aid the release of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive and former U.S. federal agent, and another Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who the Nigerian government have detained without passports since Feb. 26, 2024.

The U.S. Chamber of Digital Commerce made its appeal through a blog post on its website on March 15 and is leading the demand for urgent diplomatic action to address what it perceives as a significant injustice.

According to the post, the detention of Gambaryan in such questionable circumstances establishes a troubling precedent, suggesting that any American entrepreneur abroad, especially those in the cryptocurrency industry, could face similar unlawful actions by foreign authorities. The blog post stated:

“The unwarranted detention of Tigran Gambaryan is more than a legal issue; it is a matter of national dignity and the protection of American citizens worldwide.”

The Chamber of Digital Commerce believes that Gambaryan’s detention is arbitrary, without due process, and presents a significant challenge to international law norms and diplomatic relations. 

  Source: United States Chamber of Commerce on X

Nigeria, a beneficiary of over $1 billion of U.S. foreign aid each year, is an ally of the United States. Initial reports about the apprehensions of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla emerged in late February, with the Financial Times covering the detentions without explicitly naming executives.

According to their families, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla — a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Kenya — arrived in Abuja on Feb. 25. They came to Nigeria in response to an invitation from the government to discuss the ongoing dispute with Binance regarding its allegedly illegal activities there.

The executives purportedly met with Nigerian officials the following day to address the government’s directive for the country’s telecom providers to restrict access to Binance and other cryptocurrency exchanges. Officials attributed the devaluation of Nigeria’s official currency, the naira, and the facilitation of “illicit flows” of funds to crypto exchanges.

However, rather than reaching a consensus, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were escorted to their hotels shortly after meeting with Nigerian officials. They were instructed to gather their belongings and transported to a “guesthouse” managed by Nigeria’s National Security Agency, according to their families.

The arrests of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla came a few days before Binance officially announced its exit from Nigeria on March 5.


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