Tax Evasion: Court Discharges Binance Executives as FIRS Amends Charges

A Federal High Court in Abuja has released two executives of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Tigran Gambaryan and the now-absconded Nadeem Anjarwalla. These individuals were previously brought to court by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over allegations of tax evasion.

Tax Evasion: Court Discharges Binance Executives as FIRS Amends Charges

PUCNH Online reports that the court’s decision came after the FIRS amended the charges against them. The revision followed a notice from Binance regarding the appointment of Ayodele Omotilewa as its Nigerian representative.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla initially faced a four-count charge from the Nigerian government, under the jurisdiction of Justice Emeka Nwite. During the proceedings, Gambaryan, despite Binance not having legal representation in court, took the stand to hear the charges.

However, Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chukwuka Ikwazuonu, pointed out that his client had not been formally served with the charges. Ikwazuonu argued it was premature for Gambaryan to be arraigned without being aware of the specifics of the charges against him.

The FIRS prosecutor, Moses Ideho, admitted that the service of the charges was not possible due to lack of access to the defendant. Consequently, the court ordered that the charges be served to Gambaryan in open court, leading to an adjournment until April 19 for his arraignment.

In a related case presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), their counsel, E.E. Iheanacho, confirmed that Gambaryan had been served with the charges. Nonetheless, Mark Mordi, representing Binance, stated that the company itself had not been served, and thus the arraignment could not proceed.

Mordi emphasized that since the charges were joint, it was imperative for all parties to be individually served. He also mentioned that Gambaryan declined to accept the charges on behalf of Binance, as he was not authorized to do so.

The EFCC prosecutor countered that Gambaryan, given his position at Binance, was an appropriate representative for the company in this matter. However, he suggested that the court could alternatively enter a not-guilty plea for Binance, allowing the case to proceed.

This decision highlights the complexities of legal proceedings involving international corporations and the importance of proper legal representation and notification in such cases.

Read also: