Detained Binance Executive Escapes From Custody, Flee Nigeria

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Nadeem Anjarwalla

A key Binance executive detained in Nigeria on allegations of tax evasion and other charges, Nadeem Anjarwalla, has reportedly escaped custody.

According to PREMIUM TIMES, Anjarwalla, 38, managed to flee on Friday, March 22, from a guest house in Abuja where he and a colleague were being held.

The escape occurred when guards allowed him to visit a nearby mosque for Ramadan prayers.

The dual British-Kenyan citizen is believed to have left Abuja aboard a Middle Eastern airline, raising questions about his departure despite Nigerian authorities holding his British passport.

Efforts are underway to determine Anjarwalla’s destination and facilitate his return to custody.

An Immigration official revealed to PREMIUM TIMES that Anjarwalla escaped using a Kenyan passport, sparking inquiries into how he acquired the document given that his British passport was in official custody.

This has led to speculation about the oversight and privileges granted to the detainees, including phone access, which may have facilitated the escape plan.

The National Security Adviser’s office, through Zakari Mijinyawa, Head of Strategic Communication, acknowledged the incident but has yet to provide further details.

Anjarwalla, Binance’s Africa regional manager, and Tigran Gambaryan were initially detained upon their arrival in Nigeria on February 26, 2024, leading to a series of legal actions against them and the cryptocurrency exchange.

Following Binance’s non-compliance with a court order demanding data on Nigerian traders, the duo’s detention was extended to prevent evidence tampering.

Charges against Binance and the executives include failure to register for taxes and issue invoices for VAT, as well as aiding subscribers in evading taxes.

This incident comes amidst a broader crackdown by the Nigerian government on financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorism financing, with Binance allegedly being used for such activities.

The government claims that over $21.6 billion was traded by anonymous Nigerian users on Binance, contributing to economic destabilization and Naira depreciation.

The saga adds to Binance’s legal woes, following a guilty plea to money laundering charges in the US and a significant settlement with the Department of Justice.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s trial in the US has also been delayed, casting a shadow over the cryptocurrency giant’s operations globally.

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