Detained Binance executive charged with money laundering after the exchange tax evasion case delay

April 5, 2024
2 min read
  • A tax evasion case involving Binance Holdings Limited and two of its executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, has been adjourned by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
  • This move comes after the Nigerian government, through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), filed tax evasion charges against the global cryptocurrency exchange platform with the detained executives.  
  • In the suit, FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, filed in Abuja on Monday, March 25, 2024, the court charged Binance with four counts of tax evasion: failure to pay company income tax, nonpayment of value-added tax (VAT), noncompliance with tax return filing obligations, and complicity in assisting its users to evade taxes through its platform. 

According to Reuters, during Gambaryan's court appearance, he was formally charged with laundering over $35 million for the first time since his arrest and did not enter a plea. 

The formal arraignment for the money laundering charge is scheduled for April 8, followed by the tax charges on April 19, when his plea will be entered.  

Meanwhile, Binance has not been charged by Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the FIRS, implying that Gambaryan may face the charges on behalf of the exchange.

However, Gambaryan's lawyer, Chukwuka Ikuazo, argued that he was "neither a director, partner nor company secretary" and had no written instructions from Binance to face the charges on its behalf. 

He also stated that because Binance and Gambaryan were jointly charged, he could not enter a plea until the exchange, the first defendant in the case, had been served, according to Nigerian law.

Nonetheless, Anjarwalla, detained by Nigeria's National Security Adviser, escaped from a guest house in Abuja on Friday, March 22, 2023.

Besides, Techpoint Africa reported that Binance requested the release of its detained executive in Nigeria, Tigran Gambaryan, stating that he lacked decision-making authority within the company and should not be held accountable. 

Previously, the two Binance executives were arrested following news that the cryptocurrency exchange had halted naira to USDT/USDC transactions on its platform. Binance responded by announcing that it would no longer accept naira deposits and withdrawals as it discontinued all Nigerian naira services.

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