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Binance Executive’s Tax Evasion Case In Nigeria Postponed, Hearing Set For April 19
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Binance Executive’s Tax Evasion Case In Nigeria Postponed, Hearing Set For April 19

In a recent development, a Binance executive detained in Nigeria on tax evasion charges has had his case adjourned until April 19, following his first appearance in court. 

Tigran Gambaryan, the head of financial crime compliance at Binance, was accused alongside the company of various charges, including non-payment of value-added tax and corporate income tax and alleged complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through the Binance platform. 

Delay In Binance Executive’s Case

According to a Bloomberg report, during the proceedings, Justice Emeka Nwite decided to adjourn Gambaryan’s case for a longer period after learning that he was seeing the charges for the first time on Thursday. 

The prosecution explained that they could not serve the charges earlier, alleging that Gambaryan was in the custody of a different federal agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The charges were finally served in court.

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Meanwhile, another Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who held UK and Kenyan citizenship, fled Nigeria last month after being seized alongside Gambaryan. 

The two executives had traveled to Nigeria in late February at the authorities’ invitation to meet with officials after the government restricted access to cryptocurrency channels as part of a broader effort to combat currency speculation. 

High-Stakes Court Hearing

The popularity of cryptocurrencies among Nigerians has surged due to the devaluation of the naira, prompting the government to crack down on platforms offering digital tokens. 

In February, Central Bank Governor Olayemi Cardoso alleged that Binance had facilitated $26 billion in untraceable transactions shortly before the arrest of the two Binance executives. 

In response to the case, Binance stated on Wednesday, before the hearing, that Gambaryan had no decision-making power within the company and urged that he not be held accountable. 

At the same time, discussions between Binance and Nigerian government officials were ongoing.

During the court hearing, arguments revolved around whether Binance could be served charges through its employee, Gambaryan. 

Mark Mordi, Gambaryan’s counsel, argued that due process had not been followed and highlighted his client’s explicit statement that he was not authorized to receive charges on behalf of the company.

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Gambaryan’s legal defense further claimed, “The world is looking at us, let’s not treat this matter as a trivial matter.” 

As the case unfolds, it reminds us of the increased scrutiny that cryptocurrency exchanges have faced in recent months, highlighting the need for clear regulatory frameworks and adherence to due process to address concerns related to allegations of tax evasion and financial crimes.

For now, Gambaryan remains in the custody of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, awaiting further developments in the case and its outcome, as imprisonment could be one possible outcome. 

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