EFCC Opposes Bail for Binance Executive Amidst Escape Concerns, Others

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has advised the Federal High Court in Abuja to refuse bail for Tigran Gambaryan, a detained executive of Binance Holdings Limited.

During a hearing presided over by Justice Emeka Nwite, the EFCC expressed concerns about the potential risk involved in releasing Gambaryan, following his co-defendant Nadeem Anjarwalla’s escape to Kenya.

Prosecuting counsel Emeka Iheanacho highlighted the EFCC’s fears, mentioning that they had found evidence suggesting Gambaryan attempted to acquire a new passport to escape from Nigeria, even after his original passport had been seized. This concern was amplified by Anjarwalla’s successful flight while his UK passport remained in Nigeria, illustrating a precedent of escape despite confiscated travel documents.

Gambaryan, Anjarwalla, and their employer, Binance, face charges of money laundering, accused of hiding the origins of $35.4 million earned in Nigeria, alleged to be proceeds from illegal activities. The EFCC argued that granting Gambaryan bail would pose a significant risk, citing his lack of community ties in Nigeria and the virtual nature of Binance’s operations which offer limited physical assets to leverage.

On the other hand, Gambaryan’s defense attorney, Mark Mordi (SAN), contested these claims, asserting that the allegations of his client’s flight risk were based on unreliable hearsay. Mordi argued that the EFCC’s continued detention of Gambaryan amounted to state-sanctioned hostage-taking, used as leverage to extract information from Binance. He emphasized that without tangible evidence of wrongdoing directly linked to Gambaryan, there was no justified basis for denying bail.

The defense’s plea for bail included assurances that Gambaryan would comply with all court stipulations and emphasized the hardship of being separated from his family. The court session concluded with Justice Nwite setting a date of May 17 to deliver a ruling on the matter.


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