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US Lawmakers Visit Tigran Gambaryan In Kuje Prison

Two members of the United States (US) congress paid a visit to Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s executive detained at the Kuje correctional centre in Abuja.

The lawmakers are French Hill, a representative of the Republicans and Chrissy Houlahan, a representative of the Democrats.

According to a post on social media by Hill, Gambaryan was visited on June 19, while the lawmakers were on a national security visit in Nigeria.

On June 5, US lawmakers had accused the Nigerian government of taking the Binance executive, “hostage”, urging President Joe Biden to help secure his release.

Speaking after the visit in a post on X on Thursday, Hill also called for the release of Gambaryan, also a former US agent.

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“Yesterday, Houlahan and I visited with US citizen Tigran Gambaryan in Kuje Prison in Nigeria,” Hill said.

“We found him suffering from the conditions there, as he has malaria and double pneumonia, and he reports that he has lost significant weight. Even worse, he’s being denied access to adequate medical attention.

“Although I am pleased that Nigeria dropped tax evasion charges against Tigran on 6/14, it’s my view that he’s being wrongfully detained on charges related to money laundering.

“Tigran has devoted his professional life to fighting money laundering and tax evasion, having spent ten years as an IRS Special Agent where he successfully led cyber and financial crime investigations.

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“Further, at the time of his arrest, he was working as a contract employee at Binance and was instrumental in criminal investigations and compliance in cooperation with Nigerian authorities.”

Hill also said he had joined a letter with 16 other colleagues to President Joe Biden, Antony Blinken, US Secretary, and Roger Carstens, special presidential envoy, urging for Tigran’s immediate release.

“Two days later, over 100 former federal prosecutors and agents wrote to Blinken further urging StateDept to use all means available to secure his release,” he added.

“Tigran must be immediately granted a humanitarian release, the remaining charges dropped, and he must return home to America where he belongs.”

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On June 20, Yuki Gambaryan, the wife of the Binance executive, had asked the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) to drop the charges against her husband.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) dropped the tax charges against Gambaryan on June 14, after confirming the appointment of Ayodele Omotilewa as Binance’s representative — with the agency filing a fresh charge listing the exchange as the sole defendant.