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Nigerian police locate Binance exec in Kenya, but extradition might take years

Three weeks since he escaped from detention in Nigeria under mysterious circumstances,
Binance executive Nadeem Anjarwalla has been located in Nairobi, Nigerian authorities have revealed.

Anjarwalla was first detained for Binance’s tax evasion in late March by Nigerian authorities alongside his colleague, Tigran Gambaryan, who heads the exchange’s Financial Crime Compliance division. However, being a devout Muslim, he asked to be escorted to a nearby mosque for prayers, where he slipped away and has been at large since.

According to Nigerian media outlets, the British-Kenyan escapee has been located by authorities in Nairobi. The Nigerian newspaper Daily Post cited a source in the presidency who confirmed that the government has reached out to Kenyan authorities to extradite Anjarwalla.

“We know where he is. He is in Kenya, and we’re working with the authorities to bring him back to Nigeria,” said the source, who asked for anonymity as the matter has not been made public.

Anjarwalla’s extradition could take years

Just hours later, a detective with Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI)
confirmed that authorities in the East African nation had received the extradition request. However, he noted that it would take time.

“You cannot just walk in and arrest him based on the request. It’s a process,” the unnamed detective said.

Under Kenyan laws, the Binance executive can only be arrested if a Nigerian court issues an arrest warrant and sends it to Kenya’s attorney general.

Even then, Anjarwalla would be entitled to challenge the extradition in court. Do Kwon’s extradition battle in Montenegro has illustrated how complicated the process can be; despite his trial in the United States kicking off, the LUNA and UST founder is still in the Balkan country as his home nation of South Korea and the U.S. fight it out for him.

Extradition requests in Kenya take especially long, with the targets exploiting slow judicial processes to their advantage. In one case, a former Cabinet secretary and the former CEO of the country’s state-owned grid operator have been facing extradition requests to face money laundering charges in Jersey Island since 2011.

The Anjarwalla case is even more complicated as his family is quite influential in the East African nation, the DCI detective further revealed. His family runs one of the largest law firms in the region, representing people in high positions who are likely to influence the process, he added. The detective predicts that all these factors will likely translate to the extradition request taking years or falling through.

Binance exec Gambaryan remanded

Meanwhile, Gambaryan, who was arrested alongside Anjarwalla, has been left to face the music alone. He stands trial for charges of fraud, tax evasion, currency speculation, and money laundering committed by Binance in Nigeria. The exchange published a statement a week ago calling for his release as he’s not part of the decision-making echelon, but Nigerian authorities are having none of it.

Additionally, CEO Richard Teng was summoned to Nigeria to answer for the charges, but he ignored the summons twice.

This week, a Nigerian court dismissed his motion, claiming he is not an agent of Binance and should not be charged for the agency’s violations. Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered Gambaryan’s remand pending the determination of his bail application.

In his ruling, the judge noted that Gambaryan had flown to Nigeria “for the purpose of attending a meeting with Nigerian government officials on behalf of Binance.” This makes him an agent of the exchange.

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