Nigeria 'Working With' Interpol to Extradite Binance Exec Who Escaped Detention: Report

Nigeria’s federal government is “working with” the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) with a view to extraditing a Binance executive who escaped detention in the country, according to reports in local media.

According to a government source quoted in local publication Punch, Nigeria’s Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is “partnering” with INTERPOL, the FBI and the British and Kenyan governments to secure Anjarwalla’s arrest and extradition.

A second unnamed source stated that the extradition aimed to bring Anjarwalla back to Nigeria to “answer to his money laundering case in court,” after the executive escaped detention and fled the country last month.

A third government source described Anjarwalla as a “a fugitive that escaped from lawful custody,” noting that he would be arrainged on Thursday this week, alongside Binance and his colleague, the exchange’s Head of Financial Crime Compliance Tigran Gambaryan.

On February 28, the Financial Times reported that the then-unnamed Binance executives had been detained in Nigeria, as the country’s authorities conducted an investigation into crypto exchanges.

No charges were initially brought against Anjarwalla and Gambaryan, who were detained for 14 days at the request of the EFCC under the terms of a court order; a mid-March hearing subsequently granted an extension.

As part of the investigation into crypto exchanges, Nigeria had demanded that Binance provide it with information on its top 100 users in the country, along with their transaction history for the past six months.

Anjarwalla’s escape from Nigeria

Anjarwalla escaped custody on March 22, reportedly after guards took him to a nearby mosque for Ramadan prayers. The executive, who holds dual British and Kenyan citizenship, had surrendered his British passport but is believed to have used his Kenyan passport to board a “Middle East airliner.”

On the same day, Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) filed charges of tax evasion against the exchange, as well as Anjarwalla and Gambaryan.

Following Anjarwalla’s flight from custody, the EFCC on March 28th charged Binance Holdings Limited, Anjarwalla and Gambaryan with money laundering to the tune of $35,400,000.

The Federal High Court in Abuja is set to arraign Binance, Anjarwalla and Gambaryan on Thursday; Per Punch, the EFCC has taken over the case from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and detained Gambaryan.

Gambaryan has sued the Nigerian government for violating his fundamental human rights, claiming that the seizure of his passport contravened the country’s constitution. He has also asked that the ONSA and EFCC be compelled to apologize for his detention.

Decrypt has reached out to Binance and the EFCC for comment, and will update this story should they respond.

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