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Binance Executive, Tigran Gambaryan Placed Under Custody by Nigerian Court

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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One of the detained Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan, was charged on Monday with four counts, including money laundering. Binance and Tigran were charged together, which Tigran’s lawyer objected to.

Tigran Gambaryan

The federal court in Abuja ordered the top Binance executive to be remanded in state prison. 

Tigran Gambaryan Claims Innocent To Money Laundering Accusation

Tigran Gambaryan argued he didn’t represent the company and, hence, shouldn’t be subject to a judgment meant for the crypto company. According to the report, the court overruled his explanations and asked him to take the plea for himself and on behalf of Binance. 

Recall that during the court session last Thursday, Tigran Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chukwuka Ikuazom, argued his client couldn’t take his plea because he didn’t represent Binance. According to him, Tigran was not authorized to represent the company.

According to him, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act mandates the anti-graft agency to ensure that the crypto company would have been served. 

Consequently, the company would appoint its representative in writing. This is only when services and processes can be served on Binance or by a recognized representative. 

Additionally, he said, “The first defendant (Binance) has no physical footprint in Nigeria and does not have an agent in the country. I urge my Lord to discountenance the submission of the EFCC and adjourn so that they can affect service on Binance.”

Tigran Gambaryan Stands As Binance’s Representative

However, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) agent, Ekene Iheanacho, responded. He stated that since there was no agent from the company, Tigran would be a representative of the company. 

He said, “This defendant is the only agent of Binance in Nigeria, and he qualifies as an agent.” 

Justice Emeka Nwete, who is the judge in charge of the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/138/2024.  Earlier today, he held that Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act states that a person affecting service shall effect the same to a chief agent of a company within jurisdiction, among others. 

Furthermore, the judge probed that Gambaryan’s lawyers had deposed in an affidavit with Nadeem. He highlighted that they “visited Nigeria to attend a meeting with Nigerian government officials on behalf of Binance.”

He also went further to state that Gambaryan was a representative of the crypto company. 

Judge Places Tigran Gambaryan Under Nigerian Custody

Finally, he ruled that “from the above statement, the second defendant is the duly appointed representative of Binance.” 

“The second defendant is bound to receive a summons on Binance’s behalf. The service of the second defendant on behalf of the first defendant is proper. The court should proceed with the arraignment of the defendants.”

Finally, the judge adjourned the case to May 2, 2024, for trial, and April 18, 2024, for bail application. 

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Abdullahi Kafayat
Abdullahi Kafayat

Abdullahi Kafayat is an enthusiastic writer interested in the tech world. She's a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and has a BSc in Chemistry. You can reach her at Kafayatabdullahi17@gmail.com.

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