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How Binance executive planned prison escape, applied for new US passport

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How Binance executive planned prison escape, applied for new US passport
Binance Holdings Limited executive, Tigran Gambaryan
The detained Binance Holdings Limited executive, Tigran Gambaryan, has attempted to escape from Kuje Correctional Facility, The PUNCH has learnt.

Investigations by our correspondent revealed how Mr Gambaryan who is currently remanded in Kuje Correctional Facility, applied for a new United States of America passport, under the pretence that his seized passport was missing.

The Armenian-born Binance executive, Gambaryan who has both American and Armenian passports, told the US Embassy in Abuja that he lost his passport which is currently being held by the EFCC, Impeccable anti-graft sources privy to the development but not authorised to speak, told The PUNCH on Wednesday.

Following the development, the EFCC has urged the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to disregard Gambaryan’s bail application, while noting that the Armenian-American could flee from Nigeria like his Kenyan-British colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla who fled to Kenya.

A source, who is privy to the investigations, revealed that “The second Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, who is currently remanded in Kuje prison, has planned to escape from the facility. He applied to the US embassy in Abuja to issue him a new Visa while lying that he lost his passport which was seized by the EFCC.”

Another source, who insisted on anonymity, noted that “Gambaryan could have escaped from Kuje if not for the fact that the US embassy flagged his request for a new passport. Fortunately, the US embassy immediately reached out to the EFFC, and the embassy was informed that he’s a criminal suspect whose case is currently in court for alleged money laundering – concealing the source of the $35,400, 000 generated as revenue by Binance in Nigeria knowing that the funds constituted proceeds of unlawful activity.”

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Meanwhile, the EFCC had on Tuesday, urged Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja to deny Gambaryan’s bail application.

The anti-graft agency said it was too risky to admit the foreigner to bail, noting the escape of his co-defendant, Nadeem Anjarwalla, from the custody of the National Security Adviser and his escape to Kenya.

Besides, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, told the court that the anti-graft agency uncovered an alleged plot by Gambaryan to obtain a new passport to facilitate his escape from Nigeria after the EFCC had seized his passport.

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Gambaryan, his fleeing colleague, Anjarwalla, and Binance Holdings Limited are being prosecuted by the EFCC on money laundering charges.

The anti-graft agency accused them of concealing the source of the $35,400, 000 generated as revenue by Binance in Nigeria knowing that the funds constituted proceeds of unlawful activity.

Opposing Gambaryan’s bail application on Tuesday, the EFCC prosecutor said, “There was an attempt by this defendant to procure another travelling document even when he was aware that his passport was in the custody of the state. He pretended as if the said passport was stolen.”

Iheanacho told the court that within the same period that Anjarwalla fled the custody, Gambaryan also allegedly made moves to escape from custody and flee the country but was intercepted by the operatives of the commission.

“This court will be taking a grave risk to grant the defendant bail. This is also because he has no attachment to any community in Nigeria.

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“The experience we have had with the man who escaped to Kenya while his United Kingdom passport is in Nigeria will certainly repeat itself if this defendant is granted bail.

“The 1st defendant (Binance) is operating virtually. The only thing we have to hold on to is this defendant. So, we pray My Lord to refuse bail to the defendant.”

Iheanacho said with the intelligence information at the EFCC’s disposal it was not safe to release the foreigner on bail. (The PUNCH)

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86-year-old woman set ablaze by daughter over alleged witchcraft

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Gunmen abduct Company MD, three foreigners in Lagos
A 45-year-old woman simply identified as Abiodun and popularly called “Iya Sunday,” has set her mother ablaze in a bid to kill her.

Abiodun was told by a Pastor that she would be free from a spiritual bondage after the death of her 86-year-old mother.

Witnesses said the suspect poured petrol on her mother and set her ablaze on Friday morning around 5am.

The incident happened at Surulere, opposite Anglican Cathedral Church in Ondo West local government area of Ondo State.

Gory picture of the victim showed that she sustained severe burns all over her body and receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.

An eyewitness, Sola Oladele, said the suspect came to her mother’s house in the early hours of Friday.

He said she called out her mother before pouring petrol on her and setting her on fire.

According to him: “What happened between them before the incident we don’t know, but the suspect has been arrested by police at the Enu-Owa division for further investigation.”

Abiodun said her action was because she was told that her mother was behind her predicament.

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She said: “I went to my mother’s house around 4 a.m. and sat outside. When it was 5 am, I called out my mother from the house. Immediately after she came out, not knowing what was happening, I poured petrol on her body and set her on fire.

“What started it is that I went to one Pastor for prayers and he told me that my mother is behind what is happening to me. I did not believe it at first. My mother also took me somewhere to see one woman. After my mother left, the woman also said the same thing.

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“I burnt my mother because of what I heard from the pastor and the woman, that I can only be freed from bondage when my mother is dead.”

Police sources said the case would be transferred to the Police headquarters in Akure for further investigation. (The Nation)

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Gunmen abduct Company MD, three foreigners in Lagos, demand $1.5m ransom

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File: Kidnappers
Armed men suspected to be kidnappers have abducted four Lebanese including the Managing Director of Fouani Company, a prominent representative of LG and Hisense.

According to credible sources, the victims were travelling by boat from Apapa to Victoria Island when they were ambushed near Falomo Bridge. The kidnappers, whose identities are unknown, have demanded an astounding $1.5 million ransom.

Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police, Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the incident and stated that an investigation is ongoing.

He said, “Yes, we received the report and are investigating it.”
“We are currently working with their families and the Lebanese community to get them released,” Hundeyin explained.

However, the abduction has sparked outrage in the business community, with many calling for increased security measures to protect citizens.

The incident raises concerns about the safety of Lagos’ waterways and the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in combating crime.

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SEE ALSO:  Woman jailed 6 months for hawking currency at Lagos event centre
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ICPC grills woman who accused suspended Perm Sec of S*xual harassment

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ICPC grills woman who accused suspended Perm Sec of Sexual harassment
 •Suspended Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa
Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi, the woman who accused the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa, of s*xual harassment, has been grilled and thereafter released by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

This is in the wake of an ongoing investigation by the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), following a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, in response to a petition written by Fajemirokun-Ajayi, against the permanent secretary.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Trust Saturday, an official of the ICPC said that Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi was quizzed for hours by the crack detectives of the commission over her allegations.

The official, who did not want his name in print, said Fajemirokun-Ajayi arrived at the commission’s headquarters at about 9:40 am, on Friday, alongside her lawyer; responded to various questions posed to her.

“She wasn’t arrested. She was invited and she honoured the invitation to come and substantiate the s*xual harassment allegations against the Permanent Secretary of her ministry, Ibrahim Lamuwa,” the official said.

The official said she was released after the interrogation on Friday, adding that she would still be called upon in future to make further clarifications if there is a need for her to do so.

Ambassador Lamuwa had responded to the query issued him by the head of service, denying all the allegations labelled against him.

The ICPC’s invitation letter inviting Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi was addressed to the minister of foreign affairs, requesting him to release her for questioning.

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The ministry received the ICPC letter titled: ‘Investigation Activities: Notice of Invitation’ on Thursday.

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It said: “In view of the above and pursuant to sections 28 and 40 of the said Act, you are kindly requested to release and direct Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi of the Ministry to appear for an interview before the undersigned at the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja, on Friday, 14 June 2024 at 10:00 hours,” read the invitation letter dated June 11, and signed by Acting Director of Operations, S. Yahaya.

It is not immediately clear whose petition led to the ICPC investigation or what exactly the agency is investigating.

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