Two US lawmakers, French Hill and Chrissy Houhalan have called for the immediate release of detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan after visiting him in Kuje prison on Wednesday, demanding that all charges against him be dropped. 

Gambaryan, a US citizen who has been detained since February, is facing charges of money laundering, and engaging in unlicensed financial activities. Last week, Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) dropped the tax evasion charges brought against Gambaryan and his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla who escaped detention in March, making Binance the sole defendant.

“We found him suffering from the conditions there, as he has malaria and double pneumonia, and he reports that he has lost significant weight. Even worse, he’s being denied access to adequate medical attention,” Hill wrote on X

The call for the release of the American citizen heightens political pressure surrounding his trial in Nigeria. Sixteen American lawmakers accused Nigerian authorities of holding the American citizen hostage. On June 6, Axios reported that a group of former prosecutors and federal agents in the US wrote to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, urging him to “step up” efforts to secure Gambaryan’s release.

Although the tax evasion charges have been dropped and Binance made the sole defendant, Gambaryan will remain in custody as the money laundering charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are still pending, with a court ruling on the matter yet to be delivered.

Through his lawyers, the Binance executive has petitioned an Abuja Federal High Court to order the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to pay compensation costs for his prolonged detention in the country.

“It is time for the Nigerian authorities to do the right thing and let my innocent husband go,” Gambaryan’s wife, Yuri was quoted to have said by her spokesperson.

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