Nadeem Anjarwalla, a detained executive of Binance, is accused of escaping from detention in Nigeria.

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One of two Binance executives detained in Nigeria, Nadeem Anjarwalla has reportedly escaped from EFCC custody. This is according to a report in Premium Times. Anjarwalla who is Binance Africa’s Regional Manager was detained alongside his colleague, Tigran Gambaryan, who oversees financial crime compliance.

Both executives of the crypto exchange were detained upon their arrival into the country on February 26 for alleged tax evasion and other financial offences. According to PT,  Mr Anjarwalla, a 38-year-old Brit who also has Kenyan citizenship, escaped last Friday from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleagues were detained.

The incident took place after guards on duty led him to a nearby mosque for prayers in the spirit of the ongoing Ramadan fast. After prayers, it was discovered that Mr Anjarwalla had escaped.  He is believed to have flown out of the country using a Middle East airliner.

Nigerian authorities are reportedly trying to determine his intended destination in a bid to get him back into custody.

Binance executive escaped with his Kenyan passport

The circumstances surrounding Mr Anjarwalla’s escape from the country remain unclear seeing as he managed to get on an international commercial flight even though the British passport with which he entered Nigeria, was seized by Nigerian authorities upon his arrest. However, an immigration official told Premium Times that the Binance executive fled Nigeria on a Kenyan passport. 

Authorities are, however, trying to determine how he obtained the Kenyan passport. According to them, Mr Nadeem Anjarwalla had no other travel document apart from the British passport when he was taken into custody.

The two Binance executives were said to have been detained at a “comfortable guest house” and allowed many privileges despite being under arrest. These privileges include the use of telephones, and Mr Anjarwalla is believed to have exploited that privilege to plan his escape.

Following their arrest in February, the Nigerian authorities filed criminal charges against the two Binance executives,  Tigran Gambaryan, before a Magistrate Court in Abuja. The court granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) an order to remand them for 14 days. The court also ordered Binance to provide the Nigerian government with information on Nigerians trading on its platform.

Following Binance’s refusal to comply with the order, Premium Times reports that the court extended the remand of the officials for an additional 14 days to prevent them from tampering with evidence. The court then adjourned the case till 4 April 2024.

However, the families of both executives have denied that the court granted the extension of the remand order. In a statement shared with Technext, a representative of the two families said:

At the court hearing in Abuja, which was attended by Tigran and Nadeem, the court ruled that after hearing arguments from both parties, it would resume hearing on April 5th which is in about 10 working days. This ruling came after the original court order to hold Nadeem and Tigran expired on March 12th and a request for a new order was filed by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The Judge did not grant an extension to this order.”

Nadeem Anjarwalla’s escape appears to demonstrate that the EFCC was right in its assessment that the executives were indeed a flight risk.