Business News

BINANCE: Court dismisses Gambaryan’s request to leave Kuje prison

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday,  dismissed the bail application of a detained Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, following the Federal Government’s opposition.

Gambaryan’s lawyer, M. Mordi, had sought an order admitting his client to bail pending the hearing and determination of the money laundering case instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Emeka Nwite had fixed today for ruling and trial after Gambaryan (through his legal team) and the Nigerian government’s lawyers argued over the former’s request to leave the custody of the Kuje Correctional Centre after over 40 days in detention.

Naijaonpoint previously reported that the trial judge had remanded the Binance agent after he pleaded not guilty to the money laundering charges preferred against him by the EFCC.

The Nigerian government, through the EFCC, had accused Binance, Gambaryan, and fleeing Nadeem Anjarwalla, of allegedly conspiring amongst themselves to conceal the origin of the financial proceeds of their alleged unlawful activities in Nigeria, including $35,400, 000, thereby committing an offense contrary to Section 21 (a) and punishable under Section 18(3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.

But EFCC’s counsel, E. Iheanacho, said the court would be taking a grave risk by granting the Binance executive bail because he has no attachment to any community in Nigeria or competent person to stand as his surety.

He had contended that Gambaryan attempted to apply for a new United States passport, knowing full well his International passport was seized by the Nigerian state.

In the alternative, the EFCC advised the court to return the applicant to EFCC custody pending the end of the trial.

Meanwhile, Gambaryan’s lawyer, Mordi, submitted that his client has no record of jumping bail warranting the court to decline his request.

Ruling on the bail application on Friday, Justice Nwite held that a defendant charged with a criminal offence with a penalty of three-year-sentence and above is entitled to bail except where there are proofs of an attempt to conceal evidence, interfere with the trial, among others.

Nwite said from the affidavit evidence tendered by the Binance official, he had admitted coming to Nigeria to hold meetings with Nigerian government officials on behalf of Binance.

Nwite also observed that the EFCC submitted that the Nigerian government, through intelligence, became aware that the Binance company helped in foreign exchange contravention while affecting the value of the Naira.

The judge also observed that Nadeem, Gambaryan’s colleague, had escaped from lawful custody.