Binance Executive Escapes Custody Amidst Nigerian Tax Evasion Allegations

Binance executive and Binance banner

Nadeem Anjarwalla, a Binance executive detained in Nigeria on tax evasion charges, has reportedly escaped custody, sparking concern over the handling of the case. Despite being held at a guest house, Anjarwalla managed to flee, prompting authorities to launch a search for his whereabouts.

The Escape

Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the Binance executives detained in Nigeria on charges of tax evasion and other offences, has reportedly escaped from lawful custody, according to sources familiar with the matter. The 38-year-old British national, who also holds Kenyan citizenship, fled from an Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were being held after being escorted to a nearby mosque for prayers during the ongoing Ramadan fast.

Sources reveal that Anjarwalla is believed to have boarded an international flight out of Abuja using a Middle East airliner. The circumstances surrounding his escape, including how he managed to leave the country despite his British passport remaining in custody, are yet to be fully understood. Authorities are actively working to determine his intended destination and secure his return to custody.

Left The Country With a Kenyan Passport

An Immigration official disclosed that Anjarwalla fled Nigeria using a Kenyan passport, raising questions about how he acquired the document given that he had no other travel documents apart from his British passport at the time of his detention. Sources suggest that Anjarwalla may have exploited certain privileges granted to him, including access to telephones, to orchestrate his escape.

Anjarwalla and his colleague Tigran Gambaryan, a US citizen overseeing financial crime compliance at Binance, were detained upon their arrival in Nigeria on February 26, 2024. They were subsequently charged with various offences, including tax evasion, before a Magistrate Court in Abuja. Despite Binance’s refusal to comply with a court order to provide Nigerian government with data of Nigerians trading on its platform, the court extended their remand to prevent tampering with evidence.

More Charges Against Binance

Furthermore, the Nigerian government filed additional charges against Binance Holdings Limited, Anjarwalla, and Gambaryan, accusing them of failing to register with the Federal Inland Revenue Service and pay relevant taxes. These developments come amid the government’s crackdown on suspected money launderers and terrorism financiers using the Binance platform, with allegations of over $21.6 billion being traded by concealed Nigerian identities.

The escape of Anjarwalla underscores the escalating tensions between Binance and Nigerian authorities, following the exchange’s settlement of criminal money laundering charges with the US Department of Justice. As the situation unfolds, efforts to locate and apprehend Anjarwalla continue while legal proceedings against Binance and its executives progress.

Binance Confirms Escape

Meanwhile, Binance has confirmed that its executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, is no longer in Nigerian custody. Samantha Fuller, a spokesperson for Binance, disclosed this information to PUNCH Online via email on Monday.

The crypto exchange expressed its ongoing concern for the safety and well-being of its employees, emphasizing that it is actively collaborating with Nigerian authorities to swiftly resolve the matter.

Anjarwalla, a 38-year-old British-Kenyan citizen, reportedly fled custody on March 22 from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague, Tigran Gambaryan, were being held. Their detention unfolded after they arrived in Nigeria on February 26, 2024.

Took Advantage of Ramadan Prayer

Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen overseeing financial crime compliance at Binance, and Anjarwalla, serving as Binance’s Africa regional manager, encountered detainment upon their arrival in Nigeria. The circumstances surrounding Anjarwalla’s escape remain unclear, as he allegedly took advantage of a visit to a nearby mosque for prayers during Ramadan to evade authorities.

Despite his British passport being in Nigerian custody upon entry, Anjarwalla reportedly fled using a Kenyan passport, raising questions about how he obtained it while in custody.

Authorities are now scrambling to ascertain Anjarwalla’s whereabouts and the specifics of his escape, with investigations underway to determine his intended destination.

A Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies

Last week, the families of the executives said they would remain in detention for at least two more weeks in Nigeria. The duo appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday, even though they were not charged with a crime.

This detention follows Nigeria’s recent crackdown on various cryptocurrency trading platforms. On March 8, Binance announced its decision to cease its naira-to-dollar exchange services in Nigeria due to a dispute with Nigerian authorities, who accused the platform of manipulating the country’s foreign exchange rate.

The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Yemi Cardoso, stated that over $26 billion in illicit funds had transited through the platform in the previous year.

Author: Grace

Grace likes gardening. She holds some BTC and ETH.