Nigerian court adjourns Binance executive’s trial due to ill health

A Nigerian court has adjourned the money laundering trial against Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan to June 20 due to his ill health, according to a family spokesperson.

Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and Binance’s head of financial crimes compliance, was charged with tax evasion and money laundering. His lawyer informed the court that Gambaryan was “very ill and requires comprehensive medical attention” after collapsing in court and receiving intravenous treatment for malaria.

Gambaryan, who turned 40 in prison last week, was moved to Kuje prison after being detained by Nigerian authorities in February. He was also detained alongside British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who later escaped but was included in the money laundering charges.

Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki Gambaryan, highlighted the severe conditions at Kuje prison and called for his immediate release. She warns that Gambaryan is facing an environment that would challenge even the strongest individuals.

Gambaryan previously failed to appear in court on a separate arraignment for tax evasion charges, which was postponed to June 14. His request for bail was denied last week on the grounds that he might attempt to escape.

The Nigerian government accuses Binance of influencing foreign exchange rates and evading taxes, leading to increased scrutiny of crypto trading platforms in the country.

Binance CEO Richard Teng recently claimed that Nigerian officials attempted to coerce Binance representatives into a secret settlement paid in cryptocurrency during meetings in early 2024. In response, Binance announced that it would cease all Nigerian naira transactions and delist all naira trading pairs on its peer-to-peer trading platform in March.

Gambaryan, who has been held in Nigeria for more than two months, has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Binance has a massive user base in Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest economies. The platform is particularly popular among young people in urban areas who use it to bypass conventional market platforms, especially as the naira’s value frequently fluctuates against the dollar. Nigerian officials argue that trading on Binance has contributed to the naira’s instability.