Nigeria rejects US lawmakers’ report ailing Binance exec isn’t getting care

Nigeria rejects US lawmakers’ report ailing Binance exec isn’t getting care
RegulationPeople & culture
Binance compliance executive Tigran Gambaryan, 40, has been incarcerated for months. Credit: Andrés Tapia
  • Nigeria’s Information Ministry finally weighed in Tigran Gambaryan's condition.
  • Family members say Binance man has malaria and pneumonia.
  • State says its 'legitimate and sovereign quest' is similar to what other countries are doing.

Two US lawmakers raised alarms last week that imprisoned Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan was suffering in horrible prison conditions and was being denied access to medical attention.

After staying silent on the matter, Nigeria’s government on Wednesday refuted their statements.

“Gambaryan is being held in lawful detention and has access to quality medical care whenever required,” Nigeria’s Ministry of Information and National Orientation said in a statement shared with DL News by a spokesperson.

“He also has access to consular services from his government.”

Visit from Congress members

Representative French Hill, a Republican House member from Arkansas, and Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, visited Gambaryan at Kuje Prison in Abuja last week.

They reported that he was suffering from malaria and double pneumonia.

Their accounts echo reports from Gambaryan’s family and legal team of his deteriorating health.

The Binance executive, who is on trial on a $35 million money laundering indictment in Nigeria, slumped during court proceedings on May 23 which prompted the judge to order his hospitalisation.

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Prison officials ignored the court order for almost two weeks and only took him for a simple check-up but refused to share the results with his family, lawyers or the US embassy, Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki, said in a previous statement.

Written requests

Yuki also said the prison officials listed an unknown person from the correctional facility as her husband’s next of kin despite written requests from his family, lawyers, and the US Embassy to change it.

Despite these allegations, Nigeria’s government says it is following the law.

“The Federal Government will not do anything to jeopardise his fundamental human rights to lawful trial, and to quality care, including healthcare, even as he undergoes trial by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the ministry said.

Gambaryan has sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, and the nation’s National Security Adviser for human rights abuses.

The matter is scheduled for its preliminary hearing on July 9 but it may be hampered by a planned vacation of Federal High Court judges next month.

Gambaryan’s lawyers have also described his prolonged incarceration as “state-sanctioned hostage-taking.”

Gambaryan’s ordeal began in late February when he travelled to Nigeria to honour an invitation from the EFCC and Nigeria’s NSA.

Tax violations

He came to Nigeria in February to settle a regulatory dispute between the government and Binance. But he and a collague were detained after the meeting.

The EFCC says it will continue to prosecute the case against both Gambaryan and Binance and seems to have the full backing of the government.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria will continue to follow due process in its quest to bring Binance to justice ― a legitimate and sovereign quest that is similarly being pursued in several other countries around the world,” the ministry said.

Osato Avan-Nomayo is our Nigeria-based DeFi correspondent. He covers DeFi and tech. To share tips or information about stories, please contact him at