FG insists Binance Executive Has Access to Quality Medical Care

* US lawmakers visit Gambaryan in Kuje prison, seek his humanitarian release

Emmanuel Addeh and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The federal government yesterday, picked holes in the insinuations that Binance Executive, Tigran Gambaryan, was being held in unsavory prison conditions in Nigeria, or that his health was deteriorating
The clarification by the Nigerian government came as two United States lawmakers urged the country’s embassy in Nigeria to seek the release of Gambaryan, on humanitarian grounds, citing his ‘poor health’.

But the position of the US lawmakers was refuted by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, in a statement. He waved aside the allegations, saying it should be ignored as it was false.
Idris emphatically said Gambaryan, who was facing trial for tax evasion and money laundering was being held in lawful detention and had access to quality medical care whenever required.

The minister also said the US citizen had full access to consular services from his home government.
“The federal government will not do anything to jeopardise his fundamental rights to lawful trial, and to quality care, including healthcare, even as he undergoes trial by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“It is worth reiterating that his detention is a court-ordered one, and only the court can alter the terms or direct his release,” Idris stated.
He assured that the federal government would continue to follow due process in its quest to bring Binance to justice, saying the trial was  a legitimate sovereign quest that was similarly being pursued in several other countries around the world.
 “This adherence to legal and diplomatic standards underscores Nigeria’s dedication to upholding justice and maintaining the integrity of its judicial processes. The executive is being treated with the utmost fairness, and his legal and human rights are being protected throughout the judicial proceedings,” Idris said.

Gambaryan, a US citizen and head of financial crimes compliance for Binance has been in custody since February, facing money laundering charges, while tax evasion charges against him and another official who left Nigeria in March were dropped last week, Reuters reported yesterday.

French Hill, a Republican in the US House of Representatives, and Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat, visited Gambaryan in Abuja’s Kuje prison on Thursday during a trip to the West African country.

“We have asked our embassy to advocate for a humanitarian release of Tigran because of the horrible conditions of the prison, his innocence and his health,” Hill said in a video he posted on social media site X, alongside Houlahan.

Houlahan said during the prison visit, they found Gambaryan living in difficult conditions and “he was also clearly under a lot of stress and his health is not very good.” Binance has previously said Gambaryan had malaria and pneumonia.

Gambaryan, who denies charges against him, was in court yesterday for the money laundering trial, which was adjourned to July 1.

Hill and Houlahan said they used the opportunity of a national-security visit to the West African nation “to advocate for an American that has been wrongfully detained by the Nigerian government.”

“Local authorities have held Tigran Gambaryan — the head of financial-crime compliance at Binance — since February on charges including illegal operations, currency manipulation and money laundering. They moved the US citizen to a prison in April.”

In the same video clip, Pennsylvania Democrat Houlahan, said “we will be able to put the full force of America behind us to make sure that he is returned home safely.”

Hill was among 16 Republican lawmakers that in a June 4 letter to President Joe Biden accused Nigeria of holding Gambaryan hostage, Bloomberg said.

The Nigerian case is the firm’s latest legal problem. Its founder Changpeng Zhao was ordered on April 30 to spend four months in prison in the US for failures that allowed cybercriminals and terrorist groups to freely trade on its platform.

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