Anjarwalla Fled Nigeria Using Smuggled Passport, ONSA Confirms Binance Executive’s Escape From Custody

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FILE PHOTO: A composition showing crypto currency with the Binance logo. Picture taken on Nov. 10, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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THE Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has confirmed that the detained Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, escaped from custody.

The ONSA on Monday said Anjarwalla, who was a suspect in the probe into the activities of Binance, escaped on Friday. Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the two Binance executives was detained in Nigeria for alleged tax evasion and other offences,

Confirming the development in a statement the Head, Strategic Communication, ONSA, Zakari Mijinyawa, said a preliminary investigation showed that Anjarwalla fled Nigeria using a smuggled passport.

He noted that efforts were ongoing to arrest the suspect.

Nadeem Anjarwalla

The statement read, “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.

“Upon receiving this report, this office took immediate steps, in conjunction with relevant security agencies, MDAs, as well as the international community, to apprehend the suspect. Security agencies are working with Interpol for an international arrest warrant on the suspect.

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

Mijinyawa noted that those responsible for the custody of Anjarwalla had been arrested.

He noted that the investigation was ongoing to unravel the circumstances surrounding his escape.

“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.

“Recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria, like other governments around the world, has been investigating money laundering and terrorism financing transactions perpetrated on the Binance currency exchange platform.

“Until his escape, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who holds British and Kenyan nationalities and serves as Binance’s Africa regional manager, was being tried by Nigerian courts. The suspect escaped while under a 14-day remand order by a court in Nigeria. He was scheduled to appear before the court again on 4 April 2024” the statement added.

He urged Nigerians and the international community to help with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect.

Mijinyawa said, “We urge the Nigerian public and the international community to provide whatever information they have that can assist law enforcement agencies to apprehend the suspect.”

Financial Times had on February 28 reported that two executives of the company were arrested and detained after they flew into the country as a result of a ban on their website.

On 12 March 2024, the Financial Times reported that the EFCC asked Binance to share data on its 100 top users in Nigeria as well as all transaction history for the past six months.

According to the report, the request is at the centre of negotiations between Binance and Nigeria.

Meanwhile, sources said Mr Anjarwalla, 38, escaped from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were detained after guards on duty led him to a nearby mosque for prayers in the spirit of the ongoing Ramadan fast.

It remains unclear how Mr Anjarwalla got on an international flight despite his British passport, with which he entered Nigeria, remaining in the custody of the Nigerian authorities.

An Immigration official said the Binance executive fled Nigeria on a Kenyan passport. He, however, said authorities were trying to determine how he obtained the passport, given that he had no other travel document (apart from the British passport) on him when he was taken into custody.

Another source said the two officials were held at a “comfortable guest house” and allowed many rights, including the use of telephones, a privilege Mr Anjarwalla is believed to have exploited to plot an escape.

 

Eighteen-Eleven Media 

 

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