The Legal Battle of Tigran Gambaryan Against Nigerian Authorities

The Legal Battle of Tigran Gambaryan Against Nigerian Authorities

Tigran Gambaryan, a key figure at Binance, has recently made headlines for taking legal action against the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria. The American citizen filed a Fundamental Rights suit, alleging wrongful detention by Nigerian authorities. His lawyer, T.J. Krukrubo SAN, presented the case before the Federal High Court in Abuja, highlighting that Gambaryan’s detention is being used as leverage to extract demands from Binance.

Gambaryan, along with Nadeem Anjarwalla, attended a meeting with Nigerian officials on February 26, 2024, at the invitation of Saad Abubakar of the NSA and Olalekan Ogunjobi of the EFCC. Following the meeting, both Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained by Nigerian authorities. While Gambaryan remains in custody, Anjarwalla managed to escape. It is emphasized that Gambaryan was not involved in any offense during the meeting or at any other time in Nigeria. The detention appears to be solely aimed at pressuring Binance to comply with governmental demands.

Gambaryan argues that Binance has a track record of cooperating with Nigerian law enforcement, responding to over 600 requests for information since 2020, which led to significant seizures and recoveries. Despite this cooperation, Gambaryan asserts that his continued detention violates his fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution. In seeking justice, he has requested several orders from the court – a declaration that his detention violates constitutional provisions on personal liberty, immediate release from custody, perpetual injunction against further detention related to Binance investigations, and a public apology from Nigerian authorities.

During the court proceedings, Gambaryan’s lawyer informed Justice Inyang Ekwo that the respondents, NSA and EFCC, were yet to respond to the application. Consequently, the judge decided to adjourn the case to April 8, allowing the respondents time to address the allegations. This legal battle unfolds amidst increased scrutiny on cryptocurrency exchanges in Nigeria, with stricter regulations imposed following accusations of influencing foreign exchange rates. Gambaryan’s detention occurred shortly after Nigerian authorities banned cryptocurrency channels as part of efforts to combat currency speculation, further exacerbating economic challenges in the country.

Economic Impact

The detention of Gambaryan and the regulatory actions against crypto trading platforms have compounded economic difficulties in Nigeria. The devaluation of the Naira against the dollar, coupled with the scarcity of dollars locally, adds to the country’s economic woes. The situation reflects a complex interplay between legal battles, regulatory measures, and economic consequences, underscoring the need for a balanced and effective approach to addressing challenges in the cryptocurrency space.


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