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EFCC asks Court to extend detention of two Binance Executives after two weeks lapse



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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has requested an Abuja federal high court to prolong the custody of two Binance executives, who were apprehended during the nationwide cryptocurrency clampdown, following the expiration of the initial detention warrant, according to sources familiar with the matter.  

Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan, an American who is the head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British Kenyan serving as the regional manager for Africa, travelled to Nigeria following the country’s ban on certain cryptocurrency trading sites.  

They were taken into custody on February 26 upon landing. They have not been charged with any crime. 

Reuters reported that court filings revealed EFCC in Nigeria secured an order permitting the detention of the duo for two weeks to assist with their inquiries.   

Although the detention order expired on Tuesday, the individuals remain in custody because the EFCC has petitioned a chief magistrate’s court in Abuja for an extension to continue their investigation. 

The two executives’ lawyers say there are no grounds for keeping them in detention, the person added. Another person close to the men’s families said a hearing was set for March 20 when the court can either dismiss or Grant the extension request on the same day or later. 

On February 28, the federal government reportedly detained two top executives of the popular cryptocurrency trading platform, Binance,  over alleged manipulations in foreign exchange trading and speculative activities. 

The executives visited Nigeria in response to the country’s recent crackdown on various cryptocurrency trading platforms.

During their stay, they were apprehended by the Office of the National Security Adviser, and their passports were confiscated. 

Following the detention of the executives, the crypto trading platform advised Nigerians trading on its exchange to withdraw all their NGN assets as it discontinues services in the country.  

The company said it would no longer accept Naira deposits from today, March 5, adding that Nigerians now have until March 8 to withdraw their assets.  

Binance said any asset not withdrawn by that date would be converted to USDT.   

Nigeria has focused its attention on Binance and other cryptocurrency websites as it seeks to head off its worst economic crisis in three decades and restore its citizens’ faith in its battered currency.