Binance CEO Urges Release of Detained Executive in Nigeria

Binance CEO Urges Release of Detained Executive in Nigeria

Binance CEO Richard Teng has spoken out against the detention of Tigran Gambaryan, an executive of the exchange, in Nigeria. Teng believes that Gambaryan’s detention was unfair and is concerned about the dangerous precedent it sets for companies globally. He argues that inviting a company’s employees to participate in collaborative policy meetings only to detain them afterward is a troubling development.

Background Information

Gambaryan, a US citizen who oversees Binance’s financial crime compliance department, was apprehended in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, alongside Nadeem Anjarwalla, the exchange’s regional manager for Africa. While Anjarwalla managed to escape custody, Gambaryan remained detained. Teng clarified that Gambaryan was not in Nigeria in a decision-making capacity but rather as a financial crime expert participating in policy discussions.

Teng accused the Nigerian government of targeting Gambaryan as a means to exert control over Binance. He suggested that detaining an innocent employee and a former US federal agent was a tactic to intimidate the exchange. Teng emphasized the importance of releasing Gambaryan to allow him to return to his family, stressing that Binance has cooperated voluntarily with Nigerian law enforcement numerous times in the past.

Teng revealed that Binance had received demands from individuals claiming to represent Nigeria’s House Committee on Financial Crimes, requesting a significant payment in crypto to be made secretly. While Teng did not disclose the exact amount requested, reports from The New York Times indicated that someone linked to the Nigerian government had solicited a bribe of around $150 million in cryptocurrency from Gambaryan.

This situation highlights the risks faced by multinational companies operating in countries with potentially corrupt practices. It underscores the importance of transparency, ethical conduct, and the protection of employees from unjust treatment. Teng’s plea for Gambaryan’s release serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by businesses navigating complex regulatory environments and political agendas.

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