FG tackles US lawmakers over Binance executive's health status

The U.S. lawmakers had alleged that the Nigerian government refused Gambaryan access to quality medical care in detention.

President Bola Tinubu, Binance Executive, Tigran Gambaryan and US President, Joe Biden.

Gambaryan is being held by the Federal Government and facing charges of tax evasion and other financial crimes in Nigeria allegedly perpetuated by his company.

After visiting the Binance Executive at the Kuje prison on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, U.S. lawmakers, French Hill and Chrissy Houlahan, called for his immediate release.

They also alleged that Gambaryan has come down with malaria and pneumonia, stating that he told them he has lost significant weight and is being denied adequate medical attention.

However, responding to the claims by Hill and Houlahan in a statement on Friday, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said Gambaryan is under lawful detention.

Idris also debunked the claims by the US lawmakers, describing them as false and baseless.

He maintained that not only is Gambaryan given access to quality medical care whenever required, but he also enjoys full access to consular services from his home government.

“It has become necessary for the Federal Government of Nigeria to address claims that Binance Executive, Tigran Gambaryan is being held in unsavory prison conditions in Nigeria, or that his health is deteriorating.

“We would like to state that these allegations are false and should be ignored.

Gambaryan is being held in lawful detention and has access to quality medical care whenever required. He also has full access to consular services from his home government.

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

“It is worth reiterating that his detention is a court-ordered one, and only the court can alter the terms or direct his release.

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

“This adherence to legal and diplomatic standards underscores Nigeria’s dedication to upholding justice and maintaining the integrity of its judicial processes.

“The executive is being treated with the utmost fairness, and his legal and human rights are being protected throughout the judicial proceedings,” the statement read.

Recall some U.S. lawmakers had called on President Joe Biden to secure the release of the Binance executive who has been in detention since February 2024.

According to a Bloomberg report, 16 Republican congressmen including Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, wrote to Biden, asking him to intervene in Gambaryan’s case and treat it as a ‘hostage’ situation.

In a letter dated June 4, the lawmakers asserted that the Binance executive was wrongfully detained, adding that the American citizen was accused of several “baseless” offences by the Nigerian government.

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