The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Tuesday, urged Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja to deny the bail application of the detained Binance Holdings Limited executive, Tigran Gambaryan.

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, Emeka 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.

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 considering the fact that he has no attachment to any community in Nigeria.

“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.

He said, “Because of the information we received, we ask that the defendant be kept in the EFCC custody so that he doesn’t escape. We will ensure that he is properly taken care of.

“Private inconvenience is preferable to public disgrace. My Lord, we urge this honourable court to refuse the bail request of the defendant and instead remand him in our detention facility.”

But earlier while moving Gambaryan’s bail application, his lawyer, Mark Mordi (SAN), described his continued detention as “purely a state-sanctioned hostage taking,” saying his client was being held by EFCC as a leverage to obtain information from his employer.

Mordi said there was no evidence that his client was a flight risk.

He said “He can’t go anywhere. They (EFCC) have his passport. Already, being here, unable to go meet his family, is enough torture.

“The proof of service does not contain one document that incriminates my client. I dare him (the prosecutor) to bring it out for us to see.”

Mordi said the claim that his client was planning to escape from the country was false and unreliable information based on hearsay and inadmissible evidence.

“The prosecution has not presented any credible evidence to establish why the defendant should not be granted bail,” the defence counsel maintained.

He prayed the court to grant the defendant bail and stipulate conditions that would ensure his attendance at his trial.

After listening to both parties, Justice Nwite adjourned till May 17 for ruling.