Court adjourns Binance executive tax evasion case

THE Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, has adjourned a tax evasion case involving Binance Holdings Limited and two of its officials, Tigran Gambaryan, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, now at large.

The Federal Government, through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), had dragged the firm and its executives to court over allegations of tax evasion. 

They were arraigned before Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja.


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In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, Binance was accused of failing to register with the FIRS to pay all relevant taxes administered by the Service.

Also joined in the suit are officials of the company, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla.

One of the defendants, Gambaryan, showed up at the court while his colleague, Anjarwalla, was not present because he was on the run.

The Federal High Court is still on Easter break. However, the Chief Judge of the court, John Tsoho, issued an order for Nwite to handle the case since it was crucial to the country.

The defendants are charged with five counts of operating specialised enterprises in Nigeria without a license and money laundering.

The court adjourned the suit till April 8.

The trial judge, Nwite, adjourned the matter for ruling after listening to the parties’ submission on the service of the charge on Binance Holdings Limited.

The defendants, Binance Holdings Limited and Gambaryan, were meant to be arraigned on Thursday, but the arraignment was stalled following objection from the counsel for the second defendant, Mark Mordi, a senior advocate.

However, the EFCC’s attorney, E.E. Iheanacho, disagreed with him.

The ICIR reported on March 25 that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) confirmed Anjarwalla’s escape from custody.

In a statement signed by the head of strategic communication at the ONSA, Zakari Mijinyawa, the Office said a preliminary investigation showed that Anjarwalla fled Nigeria using “a smuggled passport”.

According to the report, the Binance executive fled a guest house where he and his colleague were kept in Abuja on March 22.

Anjarwalla allegedly escaped after being brought by the on-duty guards to a nearby mosque for prayers in observance of the current Ramadan fast.

He reportedly took a Middle East aircraft out of Abuja. However, it is unclear how he left on an international flight, given that the Nigerian government had seized his only passport – the British passport on him when he was arrested.

The Office added that the suspect escaped while under a 14-day remand order by a court in Nigeria and was scheduled to appear before the court again on April 4 2024.

The ONSA seized their passports after they were arrested.






     

     

    The ICIR reported on Monday, March 25, that the Federal Government, through the FIRS, filed criminal charges against Binance at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

    The charges accused Binance of a four-count tax evasion.

    FIRS stated that the action was intended to protect Nigeria’s economic integrity and maintain budgetary sustainability.

    Binance pulled its services out of Nigeria on March 5 in response to the severe actions taken against it by the Nigerian government.

     

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