“My sick husband needs help” – Gambaryan’s wife pleads with Nigerian government

Wife of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive detained by the Federal Government, has called for the release of her “sick” husband from the Nigeria Correctional Service, Kuje, Abuja, describing the detaining facility as a notorious place.

Yuki Gambaryan’s reaction on Thursday followed the slumping of her husband before the Federal High Court Abuja, during a foreign exchange contravention and money laundering trial instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Nairametrics previously reported that his lawyer, Mark Mordi (SAN), had informed the court that Gambaryan had not felt too well since the last date of trial.

Recall that a Director at the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Abdulkadir Abbas, had told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that the cryptocurrency exchange platform, Binance  Limited, used its Naira peer-to-peer (P2P) virtual feature to devalue the Nigerian currency.

Abbas, who identified himself as Director of Exchanges and Market Infrastructure at Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), told Justice Emeka Nwite on Friday that the Naira P2P feature deployed by Binance as well as the number of people on the platform “adversely affected the official exchange rate.”

Nigerian government had accused Binance and its executives, Tygran Gambaryan and the fleeing Nadeem Anjarwalla, of allegedly conspiring amongst themselves to conceal the origin of the financial proceeds of their alleged unlawful activities in Nigeria, including $35,400, 000.

The trial commenced last Friday after the judge declined Gambaryan’s bail request.

But when the matter was called by the court registrar on Thursday, a lawyer assisted Gambaryan to the dock. Despite the assistance, the defendant slumped.

Mordi then told Justice Emeka Nwite that he had a letter detailing his client’s health conditions and seized the moment to call for an adjournment so that his client would get adequate medical attention.

Counsel for the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, did not oppose the call for an adjournment.

Subsequently, the court directed the prison service to take Gambaryan to a medical hospital for treatment while fixing June 20 and 21 for cross-examination and trial.

Gambaryan’s wife reacts

Amid the development, Yuki, in a statement signed by her Public Relations agent, Michael Hinkle and sent to Nairametrics by mail, maintained that the former U.S. federal agent is unjustly detained in Nigeria.

She urged the Nigerian government to let her ailing husband go.

Her statement read,

“Yesterday, despite numerous signs of severe illness, my husband was still required to appear in court, where he later collapsed. The conditions in the notorious Kuje prison are, in a word, devastating. My husband is a strong, healthy person, but he is facing an environment that would bring even the strongest among us to our knees.

“For nearly three months now, Tigran has faced unimaginable stress at the hands of an unjust detention, a sense of loss for being separated from everyone he knows and loves, and now a serious illness which is not, in my opinion, getting the medical attention it deserves.

“I am calling, yet again, for his immediate release. This punitive punishment against Tigran in an effort to target his employer has gone on long enough. My husband is sick, he needs help. Please, show some sense of humanity.”

More Insights 

SEC is a Federal Government agency that carries out registration of all capital market stakeholders, instruments to be traded on the market, and all the trading platforms.

In addition, the SEC makes rules and regulations on the capital market, conducts investigations, investigates enforcement as well as monitors the market.

Nairametrics reports that a popular method of buying and selling crypto is through peer-to-peer, otherwise known as P2P.

The seller and buyer are connected in what can be likened to a marketplace.

Binance and its executives are faced with two separate suits by the the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and EFCC. The former borders on tax evasion while the latter deals with money laundering and foreign exchange contravention.

Nairametrics recalls that the executives have also instituted a fundamental rights case against agencies of the Nigerian government, citing a violation of their constitutional right to liberty.

On February 28, Nigerian authorities detained two senior Binance executives, Nadeem Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British-Kenyan who serves as the regional manager for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan, a 39-year-old American who is the head of financial crime compliance at Binance.


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