Detained Gambarya not part of our management team – Binance


Binance on Wednesday said its detained employee, Tigran Gambaryan, is not part of the company’s management team.

Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange or business that allows customers to trade cryptocurrencies or digital currencies for other assets, such as conventional fiat money or other digital currencies.

Exchanges may accept credit card payments, wire transfers or other forms of payment in exchange for digital currencies or cryptocurrencies.

In a statement released Wednesday by the crypto exchange giant, it claimed that Gambaryan, an American, only serves as a law enforcement officer and does not have the power to make decisions

Recall that in February, Gambaryan and his colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla from Binance Holdings Limited, were arrested in Nigeria on suspicion of involvement in money laundering activities.

According to reports, the Abuja Federal High Court is set to arraign Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla on Thursday.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla will be charged before Justice Emeka Nwite on two separate charges.

The one filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which bothers on money laundering, has five counts.

The other charge, filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has four counts, in which they were accused of sundry tax infractions.

Anjarwalla who escaped custody on March 22 will be arraigned before Justice Nwite in absentia.

On March 18, Justice Nwite had ordered Binance to provide the EFCC with a comprehensive data or information of all those trading on its platform from Nigeria.

The judge granted the interim order in a ruling on an ex-parte motion filed by EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho.

The judge said the interim order was to enable the EFCC to investigate its claim that money laundering and terrorism financing activities were being allowed on Binance’s platform.

Among other charges, the firm and the two employees were charged last Thursday for $35,400,000 money laundering at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

However, Binance in its statement stressed that the detained employees have no part in the decision-making power of the company.

The statement partly reads, “Tigran is a strict law enforcement professional and is not part of Binance management. While he has left the official service of the U.S. government, he has remained fully committed to the role of law enforcement officer ever since, operating as a global advocate for good governance and transparent regulatory financial practices.

“Binance respectfully requests that Tigran Gambaryan, who has no decision-making power in the company, is not held responsible while current discussions are ongoing between Binance and Nigerian government officials.”

According to the statement, Gambaryan was hired in 2021 to help Binance fix past compliance issues adding that as the head of Binance’s Financial Crime Compliance team, Gambaryan has been a strong advocate for the company to develop policies and build compliance capabilities that set new industry standards.

“In 2022 and 2023, Tigran’s Financial Crime Compliance team assisted global law enforcement in freezing and seizing more than $2.2b worth of assets, including more than $285m in cooperation with United States agencies like the FBI, DOJ, DEA, and others,” the statement added.

According to Binance, Gambaryan and his team provided multiple training sessions for Nigerian crime fighters on the role of exchanges in the digital-asset ecosystem, noting that “This included a three-hour online workshop for 70 Nigerian EFCC officials in mid-2023 and, late last year, two full-day sessions for EFCC officials in Abuja and Lagos, with more than 30 investigators attending each of them.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will arraign Binance Holdings Limited, Gambaryan, and Anjarwalla on Thursday on charges of $35,400,000 money laundering.

The EFCC, having fully taken over the case from the Office of the National Security Adviser, has detained Gambaryan and obtained a court warrant to arrest and extradite Anjarwalla, who escaped custody.

On Monday last week, the Federal Government contacted INTERPOL and issued an arrest warrant for Anjarwalla’s arrest.

It was also learnt that the EFCC is now partnering with the International Criminal Police Organisation, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and the Kenyan government to effect the arrest and extradition of Anjarwalla.

BAR & BENCH WATCH reports that available reports showed that in 2004, three Australian-based digital currency exchange businesses voluntarily shut down following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The ASIC viewed the services offered as legally requiring an Australian Financial Services License, which the companies lacked.

Also in 2006, U.S.-based digital currency exchange business Gold Age Inc., a New York state business, was shut down by the U.S. Secret Service after operating since 2002.

Business operators—Arthur Budovsky and Vladimir Kats—were indicted “on charges of operating an illegal digital currency exchange and money transmittal business” from their apartments, transmitting more than $30 million to digital currency accounts.

Customers provided limited identity documentation, and could transfer funds to anyone worldwide, with fees sometimes exceeding $100,000.

Budovsky and Kats were sentenced in 2007 to five years in prison “for engaging in the business of transmitting money without a license, a felony violation of state banking law”, ultimately receiving sentences of five years’ probation.

Similarly, in April 2007, the U.S. government ordered E-Gold administration to lock/block approximately 58 E-Gold accounts owned and used by The Bullion Exchange, AnyGoldNow, IceGold, GitGold, The Denver Gold Exchange, GoldPouch Express, 1MDC (a Digital Gold Currency, based on e-gold) and others, forcing G&SR (owner of OmniPay) to liquidate the seized assets.

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