Binance executive in Nigerian detention sues govt officials, EFCC



The detained Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, has sued the National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu, and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the alleged violation of his fundamental rights.
Mr Gambaryan, in the originating motion dated and filed 18 March by his lawyer, Olujoke Aliyu, from Aluko and Oyebode Law Firm, sought five reliefs before Justice Inyang Ekwo.

Also, Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s Africa regional manager who escaped from lawful custody on 22 March, filed a separate right enforcement suit before Justice Ekwo.

READ ALSO: Detained Binance executive escapes from custody in Nigeria

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Messrs Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, in the suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/356/24 and FHC/ABJ/CS/355/24, had sued the Office of NSA (ONSA) and EFCC as 1st and 2nd respondents. They sought the same relief.

Mr Gambaryan, a US citizen overseeing financial crime compliance at the crypto exchange platform, in his application, sought a declaration that his detention and seizure of his international travel passport contravened Section 35 (1) and (4) of the Nigerian Constitution.
He said the act amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution.

READ ALSO: Court orders Binance to disclose names, transaction details of Nigerian users

He also sought an order directing the respondents to release him from their custody and return his international travel passport with immediate effect.

Mr Gambaryan equally sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents and agents from further detaining him concerning any investigation into or demands from Binance.

The official, who sought an order for the respondents to issue a public apology to him, also prayed for the cost of the action on a full indemnity basis.
In a statement in support of the suit, he said he is an American citizen who visited Nigeria on 26 February, along with fleeing Nadeem Anjarwalla, as a representative of Binance, to honour the invitation of the ONSA and EFCC to discuss issues relating to Binance in Nigeria.

Giving an 11-ground argument as to why his application should be granted, he said that he and his colleague, Mr Anjarwalla, dutifully attended the meeting.

He said after the meeting the two of them were detained by the respondents and had remained in detention since then.

He said he did not commit any offence during the meeting, and neither was he informed in writing of any offence he committed in Nigeria at any other time.
“The only reason for his detention is because the government is requesting information from Binance and making demands on the company,” he said, adding that he was not a member of the Board of Directors of Binance.

When the two suits were called on Thursday, T.J. Krukrubo appeared for Messrs Anjarwalla and Gambaryan

Mr Krukrubo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, told the court that though the respondents were served two days ago, they were not represented in court.

The senior lawyer, however, drew the attention of the court to their notice of withdrawal of legal representation for Mr Anjarwalla filed on 26 March.
Although Mr Krukrubo did not give details of why they were withdrawing their legal representation, this might not be unconnected to the disappearance of the applicant in custody.

Justice Ekwo said having withdrawn their legal representation, “it means that the applicant has no legal representation and requires that the matter be adjourned for the applicant to seek legal representation and for the respondents to be given an opportunity to come to court.”

The judge adjourned the matter until 8 April for further mention.
Also, upon resumed hearing in Mr Gambaryan’s suit, Mr Krukrubo said though the processes had been served on ONSA and EFCC, they were still within time to respond.

He, therefore, sought an adjourned date, saying the respondents’ time to file their applications would expire next week Thursday.

Justice Ekwo consequently adjourned the matter until 8 April for further mention.

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