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Binance CEO Richard Teng Demands Release of Gambaryan

Tigran Gambaryan

For the first time, Binance CEO Richard Teng has publicly stated that Tigran Gambaryan, the compliance officer of the cryptocurrency exchange, is “innocent and must be released.” Gambaryan is now being held in Nigeria.

Prosecutors in Nigeria accused Binance of profiting from illegal transactions in the country and detained Gambaryan, a US citizen who oversees financial crime compliance at the cryptocurrency exchange, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s Africa regional manager, after they arrived in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, on February 26. On February 28, they became subject to criminal charges. On March 22, Anjarwalla managed to get himself out of jail.

A blog post by Teng early Tuesday warned that the practice of inviting and then detaining middle-level staff for the purpose of holding collaborative policy sessions has created a “dangerous new precedent” for businesses throughout the world.

70 Days Detained: Gambaryan Fights for Freedom

Gambaryan has “devoted his professional life to fighting financial crimes,” according to Teng, and he used to be a Special Agent for the US IRS. According to Teng, he helped global law enforcement freeze and seize over $2.2 billion worth of assets, including over $285 million in cooperation with U.S. agencies like the FBI, DOJ, and DEA, after being hired by Binance in 2021 to assist the exchange in building stronger compliance controls.

“Neither “decision-maker” nor “negotiator” were Tigran’s stated goals when he traveled to Nigeria. In policy conversations, he was only presenting himself as a specialist in financial crime and capacity building, the CEO of Binance noted.

For almost 70 days, the Nigerian government has unlawfully detained my colleague and friend, Tigran Gambaryan. According to Teng’s post on X, they are working relentlessly to #BringTigranHome.

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The 1st defendant (Binance) is working virtually,” a prosecutor from Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) allegedly told the court at Gambaryan’s bail hearing on April 25, according to Teng’s claims. “This defendant (Tigran) is all we have left.”

“The Nigerian government has made it very clear that they want to seize control of Binance at any cost, and the only way to do it is to hold an innocent middle-level employee and a former U.S. federal agent in a dangerous prison,” Teng said.

After assuming the role of Binance CEO in November, Teng stated his intention to collaborate with international enforcement agencies and regulators, reorganize the company, and bring in new executives with compliance expertise, such as Gambaryan, in order to “dramatically” transform the company. Zhao had previously served as CEO of Binance.

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