Binance CEO: We’re Closely Working With Nigerian Authorities to Resolve Exec’s Detention


The CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance stated on Thursday that the company is closely cooperating with Nigerian authorities following the detention of its Head of Financial Crime Compliance.

A Nigerian court has adjourned the case against the executive, Tigran Gambaryan, and another Binance official until May 2. They are accused of laundering over $35 million, as announced by the country’s anti-corruption body on April 8.

CEO Richard Teng, addressing Gambaryan’s case during the Token2049 crypto conference in Dubai, emphasized, “We are working very closely with the Nigerian authorities to try to resolve the matter.”

The other executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan and regional manager for Africa, fled Nigeria last month. Anjarwalla and Gambaryan were detained upon arrival in Nigeria on Feb. 26 by Nigeria’s anti-corruption body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Besides the EFCC case, Nigeria’s tax agency, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has charged Binance and the executives with tax evasion. The case is scheduled to appear before a court on Friday.

“This was a one-off. It’s never happened to us before,” remarked Binance’s Head of Regional Markets Vishal Sacheendran when asked about the detentions at the Dubai conference.

Sacheendran refrained from commenting on the charges against the company.

Additionally, Binance announced on Thursday that it had obtained a license from Dubai’s regulator VARA. This allows the platform, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, to target retail clients alongside qualified and institutional ones.

Earlier on Thursday, Bloomberg reported, citing sources, that VARA’s steps to grant the license included Binance’s founder and former CEO Changpeng Zhao having to cede voting control of the Dubai unit.

“That’s pure speculation. Again, we don’t comment on media speculation… Our relationship, our dealings with regulators are confidential,” Teng told Thegistarena in response to the report.

The European Union’s securities watchdog highlighted earlier this month that “crypto exchanges largely operate outside of national legal frameworks” and that “Binance, for example, claims to not have a headquarters.”

Asked about the choice of its global headquarters, Teng says that the company had selected a shortlist of potential locations but declined to comment on specific places or a timeline for a definitive decision.