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Binance Executive Absent from Court Due to Nigerian Correctional Service Oversight

ByDayne Lee

May 26, 2024
Binance Executive Absent from Court Due to Nigerian Correctional Service Oversight

Binance Executive Absent from Court Due to Nigerian Correctional Service Oversight

The Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has encountered complications in its legal case against Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan, who was expected in court on tax evasion charges. The proceedings were disrupted by the Nigerian Correctional Service’s failure to present Gambaryan at the Federal High Court in Abuja for his scheduled arraignment on May 22.

Context of Gambaryan’s Legal Troubles

Gambaryan, who serves as the head of Binance’s criminal investigations team and is a former U.S. federal agent specializing in cryptocurrency, was arrested on charges related to money laundering and tax evasion. These charges include concealing the origins of approximately $35.4 million generated by Binance operations in Nigeria. Following his arrest in February alongside Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s Kenya-based regional manager for Africa, Gambaryan has been detained at the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.

Details of the Court Session

During the court session, Moses Idehu, counsel for the prosecution, expressed concerns about the inability to present Gambaryan as planned. Despite efforts to contact the correctional facility, officials were unreachable, which led to uncertainty regarding the detainee’s absence. Idehu requested a brief adjournment, hoping to resolve the issue and proceed later in the day. However, Judge Emeka Nwite decided to postpone the arraignment to June 14.

Defense’s Response

T.J. Krukrubo, representing Binance, voiced objections over the prosecution’s failure to ensure Gambaryan’s presence in court. Concurrently, Chukwuka Ikwuazo, Gambaryan’s lawyer, seized the opportunity to request the removal of co-defendant Nadeem Anjarwalla’s name from the amended charges, as Anjarwalla has been declared “at large.” The FIRS’s lawyer consented to this change.

In March, the FIRS levied several charges against Binance and its executives, encompassing failure to register with FIRS, non-payment of company income tax and value-added tax, and facilitating tax evasion. These charges form part of broader allegations by the Nigerian government accusing the cryptocurrency exchange of influencing foreign exchange rates and necessitating stricter oversight of crypto trading platforms.

DateEvent Description
Feb 28, 2024Gambaryan and Anjarwalla detained
March 2024FIRS files charges against Binance and its executives
April 2024Gambaryan transferred to Kuje Correctional Centre
May 22, 2024Scheduled court appearance, Gambaryan not presented
June 14, 2024New date set for Gambaryan’s arraignment

The failure to present Tigran Gambaryan in court highlights challenges in the coordination between the Nigerian Correctional Service and the judiciary. As the case progresses, the outcomes will not only affect the individuals involved but could also have broader implications for the regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrency operations in Nigeria.

Featured image credit: DALL-E by ChatGPT

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.

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