Kuje Correctional Centre blamed for Binance executive absence in court 

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May 23, 2024
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2 min read
Tigran Gambaryan
  • Tigran Gambaryan, the detained Binance executive, failed to appear in court on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, for an arraignment on tax evasion charges brought by the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
  • The defendant and the prosecutor claimed they were unaware of his whereabouts and blamed the correctional facility for failing to produce him.
  • Gambaryan's arraignment, however, was postponed by Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja until June 14, 2024, due to his absence.

Tigran Gambaryan was transferred to the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja in April 2024 after pleading not guilty to money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission and applying for bail. However, he was recently denied bail and remains in the correctional facility.

Previously, in March 2024, the tax authority charged Binance and its detained executives with four counts of tax evasion each.

Moses Idehu, the prosecution counsel, stated in court on Wednesday that he is unaware of why the detained executive is not in court when he was supposed to be produced from custody, and that they have been attempting to contact members of the correctional centre. He also requested a stand-down of the case, that is, to put the matter on hold for a short time to deal with the case at a later time in that day.

The defendant's lawyer, Chukwuka Ikwuazom (SAN), insisted that the FIRS lawyer cannot claim ignorance of his client's whereabouts, who is in the custody of the government authority he represents. He also objected to the case being stood down. Tonye Krukrubo, SAN, Binance's lawyer, also disagreed with standing down, claiming that the FIRS lawyer should have known Gambaryan was not going to appear in court.

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Besides, Ikwuazom stated that he has yet to see the amended charge because Nadeem Anjarwalla is still mentioned in the suit as a defendant with the words "at large" while yet to be served.

After listening to all parties, Justice Nwite instead of a stand down, adjourned the case until June 14, 2024. 

Gambaryan was not initially detained alone; he was detained with his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla, who escaped custody in March 2024 while they were still being held in an Abuja guest house.


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