Binance tax evasion trial moved to May 17 in Nigeria

The court hearing over Binance and two of its executives being accused of tax evasion in Nigeria has been postponed until May 17. This change in schedule is due to Binance not yet receiving the formal notice of the accusations.

Based on reports from BusinessDay’s local news outlet, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has not formally accused Binance of tax evasion. However, during court proceedings, the FIRS legal representative suggested that Gambaryan represent Binance as the main defendant since both Binance and its executives were implicated in the charges.

Yet, attorney Chukwuka Ikuazom for Gambaryan raised objections based on Nigerian law, explaining that Binance, the main defendant, had not yet been officially served with legal papers. Judge Emeka Nwite then postponed the hearing until May 17 to make a decision on this matter.

On February 28th, Binance, along with some of its key executives such as Tigran Gambaryan, a 39-year-old American and the head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British-Kenyan and the regional manager for Africa, were taken into custody in Nigeria. They are currently facing charges related to tax evasion, with a total of four counts against them.

Following the federal government’s prohibition of cryptocurrency trading channels in an effort to suppress currency speculation, Binance was ordered by the court to provide the Nigerian authorities with the necessary information and details concerning Nigerian users on their platform.

Binance didn’t register with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for tax reporting, leading to the accusations against them. Gambaryan appeared in court in Abuja on Friday but declined to enter a plea. Conversely, Anjarwalla was absent as he had eluded detention and departed from the country in March 2024.

In addition to a tax evasion case, Binance and its top officials are accused by Nigeria’s anti-corruption commission, EFCC, of laundering approximately $35 million. This legal proceeding is scheduled to continue on May 2.

At the Token2049 crypto conference in Dubai on Thursday, Binance, who was not present in court and declined to comment immediately, stated that they are collaborating closely with Nigerian authorities after the arrest of Gambaryan.

Currently, the federal high court in Abuja, Nigeria, has delayed once more the proceedings for the bail application of Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan, who continues to be detained at Kuje correctional center.

Yet, Gambaryan is filing a lawsuit against the government for infringing upon his fundamental human rights. According to his petition, his arrest in Nigeria and the seizure of his passport contradict Nigeria’s constitution, which safeguards an individual’s freedom from unlawful detention.

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2024-04-20 22:55