In a distressing breach of international law, U.S. citizen Tigran Gambaryan has been detained by the Nigerian government. Employed by Binance as the head of their criminal investigations team, Mr. Gambaryan appears to have been invited to Nigeria under false pretenses, only to be arrested on February 26, 2024, without any charges, except for his current employment for Binance.

It appears that Mr Gambarayan is being held coerce a $10 billion fine from Binance. This egregious act appears to be a state-sponsored kidnapping. Both Gambaryan and a colleague from Binance were deprived of their passports and taken to an undisclosed location by armed personnel, where they have remained in custody. The absence of criminal charges and the refusal to allow unsupervised legal counsel highlight the arbitrary nature of this detention.

The implications of this act are chilling. Tigran Gambaryan’s detainment under such dubious circumstances sets a dangerous precedent, signaling that any American businessman abroad, particularly those in the cryptocurrency sector, is vulnerable to similar unlawful actions by foreign governments.

This action is a flagrant violation of international law. And while Iran, Russia and China have similarly arrested American citizens in their countries as leverage or on dubious arguments, this is notably very different: Nigeria is a U.S. ally and recipient of substantial U.S. foreign aid, exceeding $1 billion annually. The Biden Administration must act to secure Mr. Gambaryan’s release and return him to his family.

Mr. Gambaryan has made notable contributions to the fight against cybercrime, including his involvement in resolving high-profile cases such as AlphaBay, the Welcome to Video child exploitation ring, and the Silk Road cryptocurrency theft. His career, dedicated to upholding justice and security, starkly contrasts with the unfounded circumstances of his arrest.

This incident demands a robust response from the United States. We call upon President Biden and the U.S. government to employ every diplomatic measure to ensure Mr. Gambaryan’s immediate release. The unwarranted detention of Tigran Gambaryan is more than a legal issue; it is a matter of national dignity and the protection of American citizens worldwide. We stand in solidarity with Mr. Gambaryan and his family during this trying time.