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Detained Binance Executive Charged with Money Laundering

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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One of the two detained Binance executives appeared in a Nigerian court in Abuja on Thursday to face tax evasion and money laundering charges. Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained on February 26 in connection with a criminal investigation into Binance’s activities in Nigeria when they arrived in the country. 

Binance

The suit, tagged FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, was filed in Abuja on Monday, March 25, 2024. The Nigerian court charged Binance with four counts of tax evasion. This includes failure to pay company income tax, nonpayment of value-added tax (VAT), noncompliance with tax return filing obligations, and complicity in assisting its users to evade taxes through its platform. 

Second Detained Binance Executive Escapes 

Anjarwalla, the second Binance executive, was reportedly to have escaped from custody and fled the country. The Nigerian government has embarked on a search for the capture of Anjarwalla. The Nigerian authorities are looking into how he managed to leave the country despite his British passport being confiscated.

A source from the immigration department hinted that Anjarwalla used a Kenyan passport to flee Nigeria, leading to questions about how he got this additional travel document. The situation caused the authorities to question the security lapses that made the escape possible.

Remaining Binance Executive Charged In A Nigerian Court

Gambaryan, the detained Binance executive, was served with the charges for the first time since his detention during his court appearance, and did not take a plea. He will be formally arraigned for the money laundering and tax charges on April 8 and 19, respectively, when his plea will be taken. 

Binance itself has not been charged by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). However, it argued Gambaryan could face the charges on the exchange’s behalf.

Detained Executive’s Lawyer Speaks

Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chukwuka Ikuazom objected, saying he was “neither a director, partner nor company secretary.” He further stated that Binance gave no instructions to face the charges on its behalf.

Also, Ikuazom went further and argued that since Binance and Gambaryan were jointly charged, Gambaryan couldn’t plead until the exchange, the first defendant in the case, had been served, according to Nigerian law. 

According to Reuters, Gambaryan requested that the Nigerian court let him go. 

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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.

Articles: 260

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