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Nadeem Anjarwalla, an executive of cryptocurrency platform, Binance, has escaped from custody, according to the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA). 

 

He is a suspect in the Federal Government’s ongoing probe into Binance activities in Nigeria. But he escaped from custody on Friday, the NSA office said in a Monday statement by its spokesman Zakari Mijinyawa.

“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, 22 March 2024,” the NSA Office said.

Upon receiving the report, the Office of the NSA took immediate steps, in conjunction with relevant security agencies, MDAs, as well as the international community, to apprehend the suspect.

 

“Preliminary investigation shows that Mr Anjarwalla fled Nigeria using a smuggled passport,” it said.

“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.”

Until his escape, Anjarwalla, who holds British and Kenyan citizenship and serves as Binance’s Africa Regional Manager, was facing trial in Nigerian courts.

The suspect escaped while under a 14-day remand order by a court. He was scheduled to appear before it again on April 4, 2024.

 

His escape is the latest twist in the ongoing brawl between Nigerian authorities and the cryptocurrency platform.

The Federal Government had in recent months heightened its crackdown on suspected money launderers and currency speculators. A month ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said over $26bn was channelled through Binance without a trace.

“In the last one year,” CBN governor Yemi Cardoso said, “more than $26 billion have been funnelled through Binance without trace”.

On Monday, Nigerian authorities also filed tax evasion charges against Binance. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) filed the charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

 

Nigeria’s crackdown on Binance started months after the platform pleaded guilty to money laundering charges against it by the US Department of Justice.

It also agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle the criminal charges.

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