Tax evasion: FG gets date to arraign Binance top officials

The federal government is set to arraign Binance Holdings Limited and its two top officials, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, who is currently on the run on allegations bordering on tax evasion.

The 4th of April has been fixed for their arraignment four-count charge where Gambaryan and Anjarwalla are listed as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively in the suit before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court (FHC) Abuja.

Anjarwalla is Binance’s Africa regional manager, while Gambaryan, a US citizen, is overseeing financial crime compliance at the crypto exchange platform.

The former later escaped from lawful custody on Friday from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were detained after guards on duty led him to a nearby mosque for prayers in the spirit of the ongoing Ramadan fast.

The Briton, who also has Kenyan citizenship, is believed to have flown out of Abuja using a Middle East airliner.

Hearing notices had been related to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the prosecuting agency, and counsel to other parties for the defendants to take their plea.

In the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024 dated and filed 22 March by the FIRS’ team of lawyers, led by Moses Ideho, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offence on or about 1 February.

Justice Emeka Nwite has ordered Binance Holdings Limited to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with the comprehensive data or information of all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.

The judge granted the interim order after ruling on the ex-parte motion moved by the EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho.

The interim order was granted to enable the anti-graft agency to unravel the alleged money laundering and terrorism financing on the Binance platform.

The commission said it uncovered users who had been using the platform for price discovery, confirmation and market manipulation which had caused tremendous distortions in the market, resulting in the Naira losing its value against other currencies.

The agency divulged that from the information afforded to its team of Investigators by Binance showed that the total trading volume from Nigeria in 2023 alone stood at 21.6 billion dollars.

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