Tax evasion: Nigerian Government files charges against Binance

THE Federal Government, through the  Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has filed criminal charges against a leading cryptocurrency exchange platform, Binance, at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Special Adviser on Media to the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Dare Adekambi, announced the lawsuit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024 on Monday, March 25.

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

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

Two senior officials of Binance who are now in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, were also joined in the suit as the second and third defendants.

Binance is facing charges related to not paying value-added tax (VAT) and company income tax, not filing tax filings, and assisting consumers in avoiding taxes by using its platform.

In the lawsuit, the Federal Government also charged Binance with breaking national tax laws and failing to register with FIRS for tax purposes.

The suit claims Binance failed to collate and remit different kinds of taxes to the federation, as required by Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 as modified.

The suit also lists specific instances in which Binance was alleged to have broken tax regulations, including neglecting to produce invoices for VAT reasons, which prevented subscribers from determining and paying their taxes.

Meanwhile, according to a media report, Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the two Binance executives held in Nigeria on suspicion of tax evasion and other offences, has fled from detention.

The Federal Government took the two top Binance executives into custody in February.

A Premium Times report claims that Anjarwalla and his colleague were being held at a guest home in Abuja, where Anjarwalla managed to escape on Friday, March 22.

The ICIR reported on Monday, March 18, that a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered Binance to provide data on its Nigerian users to the EFCC.

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

The application was filed on February 29.

An EFCC agent, Hamma Bello, stated in the affidavit supporting the motion that he was a member of the commission’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) based in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Bello said that the SIT was notified of the illicit activities (money laundering and financing of terrorism) of Binance after the ONSA established the Technical Committee on Currency Stability and Forex Manipulation.

Bello argued that the information would help the panel complete its inquiry and that the issue was of public interest.



    The ICIR reported on March 5 that Binance pulled its services out of Nigeria.

    The platform asked Nigerians trading on it to remove all their naira assets, indicating that it was terminating its services in the country.

    The Federal Government has been taking harsh measures against Binance management recently. 

    In response to the severe actions taken against it by the Nigerian government, Binance, on Tuesday, March 5, deleted all assets linked to the naira.



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