HomeNewsInterpol Sent To Arrest Escaped Binance Executive Anjarwalla

Interpol Sent To Arrest Escaped Binance Executive Anjarwalla

The Federal Government is seeking the assistance of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to re-arrest Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the two executives of Binance, detained in Nigeria for alleged tax evasion and other offences

The country is now “working with Interpol for an international arrest warrant on the suspect,” the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) said in a statement.

“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 ONSA said.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan dual national, was arrested in February with his US colleague Tigran Gambaryan.

The two men’s detention came as the Nigerian authorities investigated alleged wrongdoing by Binance.

Giving an update on the escapee, Ibrahim Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, said that a formal complaint had been filed with Interpol.

Idris said: “Yes, the man has escaped from our custody, and there is now a manhunt on him and those who were charged with his custody have been arrested and will be brought to book.”

This is also as the government said his escape will not affect the payment of $10b fines for money laundering

Anjarwalla, 38, had escaped from detention at a private guest house in Abuja on Friday, 22 March, 2024.

He had asked security guards to lead him to a nearby mosque for prayers in the spirit of the ongoing Ramadan fast.

His escape leaves his partner, Tigran Gambaryan, still with the Nigerian government.

Haliru Nababa, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), was summoned to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

However, he declined to address journalists on the matter, merely saying, he was hearing of the escape for the first time.

Nababa said: “I will check, I am hearing of this for the first time. I said I will check. You cannot just meet the number one man of the Nigeria Correctional Service and begin to ask him questions like this. I said I am not aware, I will check.”

The Briton, who also has Kenyan citizenship, is believed to have flown out of Abuja using a Middle East airliner.

Authorities claimed Anjarwalla fled the country with a “smuggled passport.”

Binance has not commented on the accusations it has been facing.

“We were made aware that Nadeem is no longer in Nigerian custody. Our primary focus remains on the safety of our employees and we are working collaboratively with Nigerian authorities to quickly resolve this issue,” a Binance spokesperson said.

Mr Anjarwalla, the company’s Africa regional manager, and Mr Gambaryan, in charge of financial crime compliance at the firm, were arrested on 26th February after attending meetings in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, to which they had been invited by the government.

The authorities reportedly demanded that they name Nigerians trading on their platform.

A court granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s request to detain the two executives for 14 days, but their continued detention was not authorised by the court and they were being held “unlawfully”, a source close to the families told the BBC.

They were due to appear again in court early next month.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian authorities have formally filed tax evasion charges against Binance at the High Court in Abuja, and named Mr Anjarwalla among the respondents.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service is accusing the cryptocurrency platform of non-payment of value added tax, company income tax, failure to file tax returns and complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform.

Last month, Nigeria clamped down on cryptocurrency firms in general over allegations they were being used for money laundering and financing terrorism.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (C BILLION) alleged that over $26 billion (£20.6 billion) worth of transactions had passed through Binance with untraceable sources.

It accused the platforms of fixing exchange rates and currency speculation leading to the free-fall of the naira, the local currency, and ordered the firm to pay a fine of $10 billion.

Binance is understood to be one of the most popular cryptocurrency platforms in Nigeria.


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