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Binance senior executive Tigran Gambaryan, who has been detained in Nigeria since February, was incarcerated in a prison run by Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency after five weeks of detention in a government “guest house.”

According to an official familiar with the case, heard by DL News, authorities transferred the executive to prevent him from escaping custody after his colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla, managed to outsmart guards and fly out of Nigeria on March 22. .

Gambaryan, who was accused along with Binance of money laundering and tax violations, appeared in court on Thursday looking haggard and despondent.

Binance executive goes to underground cell

With his interrogation postponed until April 19 following procedural errors by officers, Gambaryan will remain in the basement of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s central office in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

As the report found, the four-person cells at the facility have camp beds, many without sheets. In addition, it has a modest clinic for emergency care for prisoners.

“Some efforts were made for your comfort,” the officer told DL News. “He has clean sheets and a shower that is supposed to be communal, but he has it all to himself.”

At the guest house, there was a housekeeping staff and Gambaryan had fresh smoothies every morning, DL News learned. Furthermore, he had access to his phone and could communicate with his family, albeit under guard.

Since the start of this crisis in February, Gambaryan has been a pawn in the confrontation between the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange and the leaders of Africa’s most populous nation.

Gambaryan’s arrest

Gambaryan is the head of Binance’s financial crimes compliance unit, according to his LinkedIn profile. As such, he has no decision-making authority when it comes to the company’s global operations.

Nigerian authorities forced Gambaryan to hand over his US passport weeks ago when state security officials detained him and Anjarwalla upon their arrival in Nigeria to discuss government complaints about the cryptocurrency exchange’s operations.

Anjarwalla, a British lawyer, fled Nigeria after being taken to a nearby mosque to pray. He managed to escape the country using a passport he had hidden from his captors.

DL News’ source reported that Gambaryan’s transfer is a targeted escalation by the government to force a response from Binance.

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