Nigeria rejects claims of poor prison conditions, health for Binance exec

The Nigerian government has denied claims that Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan is in poor prison conditions. A government minister argued that he receives quality medical care and complete consular services, and he emphasized a commitment to lawful trial and judicial integrity.

In a June 21 statement, Mohammed Idris, Nigeria’s minister of information and national orientation, addressed the claims made about poor prison conditions and Gambaryan’s health.

Source: Minister Mohammed Idris

Idris’ statement comes on the heels of a recent post by two United States Members of Congress, Representative French Hill and Representative Chrissy Houlahan, who visited Gambaryan at the Kuje Detention facility on June 19, 2024. The pair posted a video of the visit on X, calling for his release.

In his statement, Idris emphasized that Gambaryan’s detention is grounded in a court order, and only the court can alter the terms or direct his release. The minister claimed that Gambaryan can access necessary healthcare services despite being in lawful custody:

“It has become necessary for the Federal Government of Nigeria to address claims that Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan is being held in unsavory prison conditions in Nigeria or that his health is deteriorating. We would like to state that these allegations are false and should be ignored.”

The minister emphasized that Gambaryan enjoys full consular support from his home government. He reiterated the government’s commitment to protecting his basic rights, including access to quality healthcare and a fair trial as he faces legal proceedings in Nigeria:

“The Federal Government of Nigeria will continue to follow due process in its quest to bring Binance to justice — a legitimate sovereign quest that is similarly being pursued in several other countries worldwide.”

U.S. lawmakers back Gambaryan’s release

Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki, has appealed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to follow the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) example and release her husband, citing the FIRS’ recent withdrawal of charges as a precedent.

U.S. lawmakers backed her, saying Gambaryan has devoted his professional life to fighting money laundering and tax evasion. According to them, he spent 10 years as a special agent at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and has successfully led cyber and financial crime investigations.

During the June 21 hearing, Abdulkadir Abbas, a director at the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission, resumed his testimony in the EFCC’s case against Binance and Gambaryan, reiterating that Binance had not obtained the necessary registration to operate in Nigeria.

The case has been adjourned to July 1 for continuation of cross-examination.

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