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Nigerian Court Adjourns Binance Tax Evasion Trial to June 14

According to Reuters, the Nigerian Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned the tax evasion case against Binance Holdings Limited and its executive, Tigran Gambaryan. Proceedings stalled on Wednesday due to Gambaryan’s absence.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) brought the case, which was set for arraignment before Justice Emeka Nwite. The Judge rescheduled the potential arraignment for June 14.

Federal High Court Adjourns Binance Tax Evasion Case to June 14 Due to Executive’s Absence


– Detained @Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan failed to appear in court yesterday, May 22nd, for his own tax evasion trial in Nigeria.

– The Nigerian tax authority has accused the country’s… https://t.co/ctAZK4HTDs pic.twitter.com/4BSRhTEe4t

— BSCN (@BSCNews) May 23, 2024

The Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned the tax evasion case against Binance Holdings Limited and its executive, Tigran Gambaryan, to June 14 due to Gambaryan’s absence from court. Gambaryan, who is reportedly held at Kuje Prison, failed to appear for his scheduled arraignment, leaving both his lawyer and the prosecuting counsel from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) unaware of his whereabouts.

Justice Emeka Nwite is overseeing this case, which also involves co-defendant Binance. Last Friday, Justice Nwite denied Gambaryan’s bail application and ordered his remand in custody following new money laundering charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The judge cited overwhelming evidence from the EFCC that Gambaryan was a flight risk.

During today’s session, FIRS lawyer Moses Ideho expressed confusion over Gambaryan’s absence, stating,

“I don’t know the reason he is not here. We have been trying to get to members of the correctional center, but we have been unable to get why they are not here. The correctional center has the right to bring him to court.”

In response, Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chukwuka Ikwuazo, SAN, argued that Ideho should be aware of the executive’s whereabouts, given that Gambaryan is under federal custody. He opposed the stand-down request, stating their presence in court since 9 am and questioning the need for delay. Both lawyers argued that the prosecution should have ensured Gambaryan’s presence.

Tonye Krukrubo, SAN, representing Binance, also opposed the stand-down, asserting that the government’s lawyer should have anticipated the absence. Ideho sought an adjournment to verify the situation with the correctional officers, lamenting,

“It is unfortunate he is not here, my lord, and it is not my fault.”

Justice Nwite ultimately adjourned the case until June 14 for arraignment, stressing the necessity of ensuring Gambaryan’s presence at the next hearing.

Binance CEO Criticizes Nigeria’s Approach

Binance CEO Richard Teng criticized Nigeria’s approach in May, claiming it set a dangerous precedent after Binance executives were invited to the country and subsequently detained as part of a broader crackdown on cryptocurrency. The company is contesting the charges of tax evasion and money laundering.

The charges against Binance and its executives, Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British Kenyan who is Binance’s regional manager for Africa, include four counts of tax evasion. These counts encompass failure to register with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service for tax purposes.

Anjarwalla, who escaped custody in March, remains listed in the case. His absence has not been officially marked as ‘at large,’ which could complicate proceedings as Nigerian law requires all parties to be served for the case to proceed. Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chukwuka Ikwuazom, highlighted this as a potential obstacle.

In addition to the tax evasion charges, Binance and its executives face allegations of laundering more than $35 million brought by Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The money-laundering trial is scheduled for Thursday. Binance has stated it is cooperating closely with Nigerian authorities following Gambaryan’s detention.

The post Nigerian Court Adjourns Binance Tax Evasion Trial to June 14 appeared first on Cryptonews.

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