NSA confirms escape of Binance executive from custody 

THE Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has confirmed the escape of a Binance regional manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla, from custody.

In a statement signed by the head of strategic communication at the ONSA, Zakari Mijinyawa, the Office said a preliminary investigation showed that Anjarwalla fled Nigeria using “a smuggled passport”.

“The personnel responsible for the custody of the suspect have been arrested, and a thorough investigation is ongoing to unravel the circumstances that led to his escape from lawful detention,” the statement said.


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According to a Premium Times report published on Monday, the Binance executive fled a guest house where he and his colleague were kept in Abuja on March 22.

Anjarwalla allegedly escaped after being brought by the on-duty guards to a nearby mosque for prayers in observance of the current Ramadan fast.

He reportedly took a Middle East aircraft out of Abuja. However, it is unclear how he left on an international flight, given that the Nigerian government had seized his only passport – the British passport on him when he was arrested.

The ONSA stated that in response, The NSA office moved quickly to capture the suspect, working with ministries, departments and agencies, other pertinent security authorities, and the international community.

“Until his escape, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who holds British and Kenyan nationalities and serving as Binance’s Africa regional manager, was being tried by Nigerian courts,” the statement added.

The office added that the suspect escaped while under a 14-day remand order by a court in Nigeria and was scheduled to appear before the court again on April 4 2024.

The NSA urged the Nigerian public and the international community to provide whatever information they have that could assist law enforcement agencies in apprehending the suspect.

Recall that the Nigerian government arrested two of Binance’s top executives on February 28. 

Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British Kenyan who serves as Binance’s regional manager for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan, a 39-year-old US citizen who oversees Binance’s financial crime compliance, were both employed by Binance.

The ONSA seized their passports after they were arrested.

The ICIR reported on Monday, March 25, that the Federal Government, through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), filed criminal charges against Binance at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Special Adviser on Media to the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Dare Adekambi, announced the lawsuit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024 on Monday, March 25.

The charges accused Binance of a four-count tax evasion.

FIRS stated that the action was intended to protect Nigeria’s economic integrity and maintain budgetary sustainability.

Anjarwalla, who has now escaped from custody and Gambaryan were joined in the suit as the second and third defendants.

Binance is facing charges related to not paying value-added tax (VAT) and company income tax, not filing tax filings, and assisting consumers in avoiding taxes by using its platform.

The ICIR reported on Monday, March 18, that a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered Binance to provide data on its Nigerian users to the EFCC.

The judge, Emeka Nwite, gave the interim order after ruling on the ex-parte motion moved by the EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho.

The application was filed on February 29.

An EFCC agent, Hamma Bello, stated in the affidavit supporting the motion that he was a member of the commission’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) based in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Bello argued that the information would help the panel complete its inquiry and that the issue was of public interest.






     

     

    The ICIR reported on March 5 that Binance pulled its services out of Nigeria.

    The platform asked Nigerians trading on it to remove all their naira assets, indicating that it was terminating its services in the country.

    The Federal Government has been taking harsh measures against Binance management recently. 

    In response to the severe actions taken against it by the Nigerian government, Binance, on Tuesday, March 5, deleted all assets linked to the naira.

     

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