Detained Binance executive pleads not guilty to money laundering charges, sent to Kuje correctional centre

April 8, 2024
2 min read
Tigran Gambaryan
  • Tigran Gambaryan, the detained Binance executive, has pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
  • Gambaryan appeared in an Abuja court on four counts of tax evasion and money laundering charges totalling over $35 million. 
  • Gambaryan, who did not enter a plea during his initial appearance in court, pleaded not guilty on the day of his formal arraignment (April 8, 2024) for money laundering charges.

Furthermore, the court postponed the case until April 18, 2024, and Gambaryan will remain in custody at the Kuje Correctional Centre while his bail application is processed. Additionally, his trial is scheduled to begin on May 2, 2024.

The Nigerian authorities detained two of Binance’s executives on February 26, 2024, on arrival in light of a clampdown on crypto platforms in the country. A month later, the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) filed tax evasion charges against Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange.

The authority claimed that Binance violated four tax laws, including failing to pay company income tax and assisting users in avoiding taxes through its platform. Gambaryan's plea to the money laundering charges has been entered, but his formal arraignment on the tax charges has been scheduled for April 19, 2024.

While his co-detained executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, escaped from custody and left Nigeria, Gambaryan is currently facing the country's authorities. During the latter’s court appearance, Justice Emeka Nwite of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court denied his request to be served without the charges against his colleague Anjarwalla.

Besides, Justice Nwite reportedly ruled that serving Gambaryan on behalf of Binance was appropriate, citing Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, stipulating that service must be made on a chief agent of a company within the jurisdiction. It was also proposed that Gambaryan take responsibility for Binance and fulfil his legal obligations.

Meanwhile, Binance requested that Gambaryan be excluded from the ongoing saga with Nigerian authorities, stating, "Gambaryan has no decision-making authority in the company and is a strict law enforcement professional who is not part of Binance management."

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