One of two Binance executives detained in Nigeria has escaped custody, according to local media reports.

Nigerian publication Premium Times reported that Binance's regional manager for Africa Nadeem Anjarwalla had fled the guest house in Abuja where he and the exchange's Head of Financial Crime Compliance Tigran Gambaryan were being detained. Anjarwalla reportedly escaped after guards took him to a nearby mosque for Ramadan prayers.

Anjarwalla, who holds dual British and Kenyan citizenship, is believed to have used his Kenyan passport to board a flight on a "Middle East airliner," according to an immigration official cited by Premium Times; his final destination is unknown.

Anjarwalla's British passport, which he used to enter Nigeria, was surrendered to authorities when he was detained. He is believed to have used his privileged access to telephones at the "comfortable guest house" where he was detained to plan his escape; his fellow Binance executive Gambaryan remains in detention.


The pair were initially detained in Nigeria in February, although criminal charges had not yet been brought against them. Meanwhile the country's authorities were investigatng cryptocurrency exchanges. Under the terms of a court order, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was permitted to detain Anjarwalla and Gambaryan for 14 days, ending in early March. After that, a hearing was held to grant an extension to the court order in mid-March.

As part of the investigation, Nigeria has demanded that Binance provide information on its top 100 users in the country, and their transaction history for the past six months.

Separately, Nigeria's Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has filed charges of tax evasion against the exchange, as well as Anjarwalla and Gambaryan. According to local publication Channels TV, the charges filed as part of suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024 include allegations of non-payment of VAT, Company Income Tax, failure to file tax returns and failing to register with the FIRS for tax purposes. The exchange is also accused of complicity in helping customers to evade taxes.

Decrypt has reached out to Binance and the FIRS for comment, and will update this article should they respond.


Edited by Stacy Elliott.

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