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Binance Reacts As FG Drops Tax Charges Against Executives

Crypto exchange platform, Binance has expressed relief as the Federal High Court in Abuja cleared its executives, Tigran Gambaryan, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, of tax evasion charges filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

The court’s decision came on Friday after the FIRS submitted amended charges that effectively dropped the tax evasion allegations against Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, who absconded to Kenya.

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This change followed Binance’s notification of appointing a Nigerian representative, Ayodele Omotilewa, to handle its local operations. The original charges, filed on March 22, 2024, accused Binance and Gambaryan of tax evasion.

In a shared note with The PUNCH, the platform said it was relieved that tax charges against Gambaryan and Anjarwalla have been dropped because they are decision-makers at the company.

The platform said, “We are relieved that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has served and filed amended charges today, resulting in tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan being dropped.

“This further illustrates that Tigran is not a decision-maker at Binance and does not need to be held in order for Binance to resolve issues with the Nigerian government. We await the court’s ruling on this, discharging Tigran from this matter completely.”

The crypto platform also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to take similar steps, allowing Gambaryan to return home to his family.

It emphasized Gambaryan’s deteriorating health due to 110 days of detention, during which he was diagnosed with malaria and pneumonia.

“We commend the FIRS for their diligence and professionalism throughout this process. This situation unequivocally demonstrates Binance’s commitment to resolving this issue with the government transparently and cooperatively.

“In order for Tigran to be allowed to go home to his family, we are hopeful that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will take similar steps.

“Tigran has been detained for 110 days, and his physical health is deteriorating, including a recent malaria and pneumonia diagnosis. Binance is committed to continuing to work with the Nigerian government to resolve this,” Binance added.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 19, 2024. where the application for an order for the enforcement of fundamental rights will be heard.

On June 20, the EFCC trial is due to continue, while Tigran will remain detained at Kuje prison.

Since Tigran collapsed in court on May 23rd with Malaria, his health conditions have worsened and Tigran now has pneumonia.

Despite a court order by Justice Emeka Nwite to take Tigran to the hospital immediately, it took the prison authorities 11 days to take him for a brief check-up.

The PUNCH reported last week that 16 US Members of Congress, including the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul wrote to President Biden highlighting that he is a “U.S. Citizen wrongfully detained by a foreign government,” and urging him to do more to secure his release.

Recall the the Federal Government had accused the cryptocurrency exchange of manipulating foreign exchange (FX) rates, which led to increased scrutiny of crypto trading platforms.

Separately, the EFCC is prosecuting Binance and its executives on charges of alleged money laundering and foreign exchange violations.

On February 28, 2024, Nigerian authorities detained two senior Binance executives when they arrived in Nigeria for a meeting following the Federal Government’s ban on cryptocurrency channels, part of a broader campaign against currency speculation.

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