23 May

The Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has alleged that the Nigerian Correctional Service did not produce Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan at the Federal High Court in Abuja for his tax evasion trial.

As reported by local media, Tigran Gambaryan, the detained Binance executive, did not appear in court on May 22 as scheduled for his arraignment on tax evasion charges brought by the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

During the court session on Wednesday, prosecution counsel Moses Idehu expressed uncertainty about the absence of the detained executive, who was expected to be brought from custody. Idehu disclosed that attempts to reach officials at the correctional center had been unsuccessful.

Idehu requested a brief adjournment of the case to later in the day to address the issue. However, Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja postponed Gambaryan’s arraignment to June 14.

Binance’s counsel, T.J. Krukrubo, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), objected to the prosecution’s failure to present his client.

Meanwhile, SAN Chukwuka Ikwuazo, representing Gambaryan, requested the judge to instruct FIRS to remove the name of co-defendant Nadeem Anjarwalla from the amended charges, as he has been declared “at large.”

The FIRS lawyer agreed to take the necessary steps to remove Nadeem Anjarwalla’s name from the charge sheet.

Tigran Gambaryan was transferred to the Kuje Correctional Centre Abuja in April 2024 after pleading not guilty to money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission. His bail application was denied, and he remains in detention. The charges pertain to concealing the source of funds generated by Binance in Nigeria, totaling $35.4 million.

Previously, in March 2024, the FIRS filed tax evasion charges against Binance and its executives, including Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla. The charges included failure to register with the FIRS, failure to pay company income tax, failure to pay value-added tax, and facilitating tax evasion.

The Nigerian Government had accused the cryptocurrency exchange of influencing foreign exchange (FX) rates, prompting stricter oversight of crypto trading platforms.

Nigerian authorities detained Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, and Gambaryan, a 39-year-old American head of financial crime compliance, on Feb. 28.

May 2024, Cryptoniteuae

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