Home News Over Hundred Former Federal Agents Urge U.S. State Dept To Secure The Release Of Detained Binance’s Gambaryan From Nigeria

Over Hundred Former Federal Agents Urge U.S. State Dept To Secure The Release Of Detained Binance’s Gambaryan From Nigeria

Tigran Gambaryan, Binance Head of Compliance.

A group of over 100 former federal prosecutors and agents has issued an urgent plea to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling for immediate action to secure the release of Tigran Gambaryan, an American citizen currently detained in Nigeria.

The collective, comprising many of Gambaryan’s former colleagues, expressed deep concern over his unlawful detention and deteriorating health conditions.

Tigran Gambaryan, who served a decade as an Internal Revenue Service special agent, has been held in custody since February 2024.

Gambaryan, who transitioned to a role at Binance in 2021 and later became Head of Financial Crimes Compliance, travelled to Nigeria with colleagues to discuss financial compliance matters.

However, following a series of interactions with Nigerian officials, Gambaryan was arrested on charges of money laundering and tax evasion—a development his colleagues vehemently contest.

In their letter, the signatories highlighted Gambaryan’s distinguished career in combating high-profile crimes, including investigations into the Silk Road, the Mt. Gox hack, and several significant child pornography cases. They underscored his integrity and asserted that his current role at Binance does not involve activities that would justify such charges.

According to the letter, Gambaryan’s arrest followed a meeting where Nigerian officials suggested a substantial payment to resolve alleged compliance issues with Binance. Concerned for their safety, the Binance team left Nigeria, but Gambaryan returned to continue discussions after he was assured of his safety, only to be detained shortly after that. Despite being held for nearly four months, Gambaryan has not been formally charged, and his conditions of detention are described as “inhumane.”

The letter detailed Gambaryan’s confinement at Kuje Prison, a facility known for housing some of Nigeria’s most dangerous criminals. It further noted that Gambaryan’s health has significantly declined, citing a collapse in court due to malaria and the Nigerian authorities’ refusal to transfer him to a hospital despite a court order.

“This situation is not only unjust but poses a severe risk to his health and life,” the letter stated, appealing to Secretary Blinken to leverage diplomatic channels to secure Gambaryan’s release.

The former agents and prosecutors emphasise that Gambaryan is being used as leverage in a dispute that does not implicate him, likening his situation to being held hostage by a foreign power.

They call on the State Department to take immediate and decisive action to bring Gambaryan back to his family and ensure his safety.

Recall West Africa Weekly earlier reported that a group of sixteen Republican lawmakers, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), called on President Joe Biden to secure the release of Tigran Gambaryan and wanted the detention to be treated as being held hostage and to act swiftly to ensure his safe return to the United States.

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