Binance Chief: FG Contacts INTERPOL, Soldiers Held Over Detainee’s Escape

The Federal Government, on Monday, contacted the International Criminal Police Organisation and issued an arrest warrant for the apprehension of one of the detained executives of a global crypto-currency firm, Binance, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who escaped from lawful custody on Friday.

It was also gathered from the Office of the National Security Adviser that Anjarwalla, a suspect in the probe into the activities of Binance in Nigeria, used a Kenyan passport to escape, while his colleague was still in custody.

The escapee Binance official, who has British and Kenyan nationalities, escaped from Abuja through a Middle East airliner, as his firm in Nigeria confirmed that Anjarwalla was no longer in the country, adding that the company would cooperate with security agencies.

The escape shocked security agencies, as they revealed that the fleeing executive was kept in a ‘safe house’ guarded by soldiers, adding that the security guards on duty had been detained.

The Office of the National Security Adviser confirmed the escape of Anjarwalla in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by the Head of its Strategic Communication, Zakari Mijinyawa, who stated that preliminary investigation showed that the escapee fled Nigeria using a smuggled international passport.

He noted that efforts were ongoing to arrest the suspect.

The statement read, “The Office of the National Security Adviser confirms that Nadeem Anjarwalla, a suspect in the ongoing criminal probe into the activities of Binance in Nigeria, has escaped from lawful custody on Friday, March 22, 2024.

“Upon receiving this report, this office took immediate steps, in conjunction with relevant security agencies, Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, as well as the international community, to apprehend the suspect.

“Security agencies are working with Interpol for an international arrest warrant on the suspect. Preliminary investigation shows that Mr Anjarwalla fled Nigeria using a smuggled passport.”

Mijinyawa noted that the personnel responsible for the custody of Anjarwalla had been arrested, adding that investigations were ongoing to unravel the circumstances surrounding his escape.

“The personnel responsible for the custody of the suspect have been arrested, and a thorough investigation is ongoing to unravel the circumstances that led to his escape from lawful detention.

“Recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria, like other governments around the world, has been investigating money laundering and terrorism financing transactions perpetrated on the Binance currency exchange platform.

“Until his escape, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who holds British and Kenyan nationalities and served as Binance’s Africa Regional Manager, was being tried by Nigerian courts.

“The suspect escaped while under a 14-day remand order by a court in Nigeria. He was scheduled to appear before the court again on April 4, 2024,” the statement added.

The ONSA spokesperson urged Nigerians and the international community to help with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect.

Mijinyawa said, “We urge the Nigerian public and the international community to provide whatever information they have that can assist law enforcement agencies to apprehend the suspect.”

Financial Times had on February 28, 2024, reported that two executives of the company were arrested and detained after they flew into the country as a result of a ban on their website.

On March 12, 2024, the FT reported that the EFCC asked Binance to share data on its 100 top users in Nigeria as well as all transaction history for the past six months.

According to the report, the request is at the centre of negotiations between Binance and Nigeria.

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