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Nigeria launches a manhunt for fleeing Binance exec

By , Contributor
Nigeria , 26 Mar 2024
Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance director for West & East Africa.
Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance director for West & East Africa.

Nigerian intelligence authorities have initiated a manhunt for Binance executive Nadeem Anjarwalla, who fled house arrest last Friday.

The Nigerian National Security Adviser (NSA) confirmed Anjarwalla's escape on Monday.

NSA's head of strategic communication, Zakari Mijinyawa, said that staff responsible for Anjarwalla's custody had been arrested. He did not reveal the number of those arrested.

"A thorough investigation is ongoing to unravel the circumstances that led to his escape from lawful detention," Mijinyawa said.

According to the NSA, Binance failed to register with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria's tax collecting agency, for tax reasons, which is prohibited under Section 8 of the Value Added Tax Act of 1993.

Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan (American citizen) and Anjarwalla (British-Kenyan citizen) were detained by Nigerian authorities on February 26th, following a series of meetings in Abuja to which the government had invited them.

Gambaryan is Binance security and Investigations' head of financial crime compliance, and Anjarwalla is the company's regional manager for East and West Africa.

Binance was forced to cease operations last year when the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria declared it an illegal cryptocurrency trading platform.

This year, the two were asked to attend meetings in the West African country, but they were later detained.

At the court hearing in Abuja last Wednesday, which the two did not attend, the court ordered that after hearing arguments from both parties, the session would resume on April 5th, ten working days later.

Yesterday, sources told ITWeb Africa that Anjarwalla may have bribed officials to arrange the move.

He is said to have taken advantage of the courtesy of being allowed to observe Ramadan prayers in order to flee.

When the NSA received this intelligence, it said it took swift action, working with relevant security organisations such as Interpol, to try apprehend the suspect.

“We urge the Nigerian public and the international community to provide whatever information they have that can assist law enforcement agencies to apprehend the suspect,” Mijinyawa said.

On Friday, the families of the pair in an interview with ITWeb Africa were unsatisfied with their respective embassies' efforts to assist the two.

They told ITWeb Africa: “We have been in touch with our embassies. We don’t feel that enough is being done to get them out, or at least they are not communicating directly with us to let us know what they are doing.”

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