Nigeria’s detention of our executives, a dangerous precedent—Binance CEO


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of cryptocurrency Exchange Binance, Richard Teng on Tuesday dismissed the decision by Nigeria to detain its executives after honouring its invitation for discussion.

The Binance CEO, Teng who spoke on the case said Nigeria’s action amounted to a dangerous precedent.

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange and two of its executives face separate trials on tax evasion and money laundering, which the company is challenging.

Teng said it was time to speak out against the detention of Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and Binance head of financial crime compliance.

The other executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan who is a regional manager for Africa, fled Nigeria in March.

Teng said Binance executives first held meetings with Nigerian authorities in the country in January.

He said at a follow-up meeting on Feb. 26, the authorities said the issues involving Binance were of national security and demanded that the exchange delist the naira currency from its platform and provide “granular-level” details on all Nigerian users.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were subsequently detained.

“To invite a company’s mid-level employees for collaborative policy meetings, only to detain them, has set a dangerous new precedent for all companies worldwide,” Teng said.

Gambaryan was being held in Nigeria for more than two months “for spurious reasons,” Teng said.

Binance announced in early March it was stopping all transactions and trading in naira.

Teng said, “Our hope when we took this drastic step was that our colleagues would be released and Binance could continue to work with the Nigerian government to resolve any further concerns. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”

He said Gambaryan should be allowed to go home while Binance and Nigerian authorities resolve any issues.

“We will continue engagement with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on resolving potential historic tax liabilities,” he added.

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