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Escaped Binance Exec Reportedly Located in Kenya


Binance executive who fled Nigerian custody last month has reportedly been found in Kenya.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan who is the cryptocurrency giant’s regional manager for Africa, escaped after weeks of being held in Nigeria along with a second executive.

He has since been located in Kenya and is facing extradition, Coinbase reported Monday (April 22), citing Nigerian media accounts. Those reports say the governments of the two countries are working to bring Anjarwalla back to Nigeria, possibly within the week.

Anjarwalla and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, Tigran Gambaryan, were detained upon arrival in Nigeria in February amid increased pressure on the crypto sector by Africa’s largest economy.

Nigerian authorities say Biannce was operating there illegally, while the country’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has accused Binance of non-payment of value-added-tax and company income tax, failure to file tax returns and complicity in helping customers to evade taxes via its platform.

The company and its executives have also been charged with tax evasion and money laundering.

Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen, has already been arraigned. His attorney has contended that Gambaryan was not a director, partner or company secretary at Binance; had no instructions from the company to face charges on its behalf; and cannot take a plea until the crypto platform itself has been served.

Both executives last month sued the Nigerian government for violating their human rights, and have asked the country’s Federal High Court to release them, return their passports and issue an apology.

Amid this pressure from Nigeria and other countries, Binance has been building a “robust compliance program,” CEO Richard Teng told CNBC earlier this month when asked about the “better to ask forgiveness than permission” ethos of the company’s past leadership.

“In those very early stages of development … Binance was operating in a certain fashion,” Teng said at the Paris Blockchain Week crypto conference. “But we have moved past that. As the company moves into greater maturity, we are looking at sustainability.”

Binance agreed to pay a $4.3 billion fine in November of last year to settle a case brought by the federal government. Former chief executive Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to failing to establish proper money laundering controls and agreed to step down from the company. He is due to be sentenced next week and could face up to 18 months in prison.