Kenyan officials have denied reports that Nadeem Anjarwalla, the Binance executive facing tax evasion charges in Nigeria, was arrested in Kenya on April 22. Several Nigerian publications claimed Anjarwalla, who escaped from an Abuja hotel where he was being held on March 25, would be extradited within the week.

Nigerian authorities asked the Kenyan government to arrest and extradite Anjarwalla three weeks ago, people familiar with the matter said. So far, Nairobi has only confirmed his presence in the country, slowing down the West African nation’s case against crypto giant Binance.

According to Kenyan law, an extradition request sent to the Attorney General can only be executed through the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) after receiving an arrest warrant from a magistrate court.  

Top Kenyan officials, including Resila Onyango, the spokesperson for the National Police Service (NPS) told TechCabal on Tuesday they were unaware of the arrest. Two other officials who asked not to be named called reports that first appeared in Nigeria’s The Punch rumours.

Crypto publication Coindesk also reported on Monday that Anjarwalla’s wife denied news of the extradition.

A high-ranking detective at Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), with direct knowledge of Nigeria’s extradition request through Interpol, also claimed no arrest had been made as alleged.

“They are piling pressure, but he has not been arrested as reported. The process is lengthy and cannot be done without involving other agencies. Interpol cannot arrest a Kenyan without following the law,” the investigator told TechCabal.

According to international laws on extradition, while Interpol, the international police organisation, enables information sharing among law enforcement agencies in over 190 countries, it cannot execute arrest warrants.

The confusion around the whereabouts of Anjarwalla and extradition is similar to an incident involving Nigerian national Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested in Nairobi in 2021 and sent to Nigeria to face terrorism charges. Kenyan officials denied any involvement in the extraordinary rendition.

However, Anjarwalla’s case is more complex because he holds a Kenyan passport, which he reportedly used after his escape from Nigeria. 

If arrested, the Binance boss can fight the extradition in court, which could take months or years.  

Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has accused Anjarwalla and another Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, of failing to register the crypto exchange with it for tax purposes.  

FIRS said in court filings that Binance failed to deduct Value Added Tax (VAT) and aided users in evading taxes through its platform. Binance and the executives have denied the claims. 

Gambrayan is still in custody and has pled not guilty to money laundering charges, Nadeem escaped from an Abuja guest house where he was held and escaped to Kenya before he was arraigned. 

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