Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Muhammad Idris, said the trial of Binance and its CEO,

Nigerian Information Minister Mohamed Idris said the trial of Binance and its CEO Tigran Gambaryan for illegal cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria followed the country’s legal procedures.

According to the statement, Idris was quoted as saying that the legal proceedings followed due process at every stage and that prosecutors were confident in their case based on the evidence collected.

He noted that Binance will have the opportunity to defend itself against serious financial crime charges in court, with the next hearing scheduled for June 20, 2024.

US politicians call for release of Binance executive

The minister’s statement follows a recent appeal by 12 US politicians to President Joe Biden, urging the US government to use its Hostage Affairs Unit to facilitate Gambarian’s release.

The letter states that Gambarian is accused of several “baseless” crimes, including money laundering and tax evasion, which they say are part of a coercion tactic used by Nigerian authorities to blackmail Binance.

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However, the minister emphasized that Binance had been granted appropriate consular access from the United States and all due diligence, in accordance with standard diplomatic protocols and the rule of law.

He explained that bail was refused due to the accused’s high risk of flight, mainly because another accused, who is now the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant, fled the country illegally.

Legal challenges faced by Binance in Nigeria

Binance and its executives are facing two separate cases brought by the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The first limits tax evasion, while the second concerns money laundering and exchange rate violations.

In February, the Nigerian government arrested Gambarian, a US citizen, and Nadeem Angarwala on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion. Angarwala escaped detention and fled to Kenya while his colleague remained at Kuje Correctional Center in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

The arrest came after the federal government banned cryptocurrency channels as part of a campaign to curb currency speculation. The court forced Binance to grant the Nigerian government access to the data and details of Nigerian traders who use its platform.

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