Detained Binance Executive Escapes From Custody, Flee Nigeria

A top Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, facing tax evasion and other charges in Nigeria, reportedly escaped custody, adding a new twist to the cryptocurrency giant’s global challenges. Anjarwalla, a dual British-Kenyan citizen, managed to flee from a guest house in Abuja where he was being held, taking advantage of a visit to a nearby mosque for Ramadan prayers. Despite Nigerian authorities holding his British passport, Anjarwalla left Abuja on a Middle Eastern airline, prompting questions about how he acquired a Kenyan passport used in his escape.

Efforts are underway to determine his whereabouts and facilitate his return to custody. The incident has raised concerns about oversight and privileges granted to detainees, including phone access, which may have aided the escape plan. Binance’s Africa regional manager, Anjarwalla, and his colleague were initially detained in February 2024, following legal actions against them and the cryptocurrency exchange. Charges include failure to register for taxes, issue invoices for VAT, and aiding subscribers in evading taxes.

This incident is part of a broader crackdown by the Nigerian government on financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorism financing, with Binance allegedly involved. The government claims that over $21.6 billion was traded by anonymous Nigerian users on Binance, contributing to economic destabilization and Naira depreciation.The escape adds to Binance’s legal troubles, following a guilty plea to money laundering charges in the US and a significant settlement with the Department of Justice. Additionally, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s trial in the US has been delayed, further clouding the future of the cryptocurrency giant’s operations worldwide.

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