FG Drops Tax Charges Against Binance Executives: A Legal Update

Binance court drama in Nigeria
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In the Binance Nigeria Case, the Federal High Court in Abuja has cleared Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla of tax evasion charges filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). The court’s decision came after the FIRS submitted amended charges, effectively dropping the tax allegations against Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, who has reportedly fled to Kenya.

Court Proceedings and FIRS Amendments

The Federal Inland Revenue Service initially filed charges against Binance and Gambaryan on March 22, 2024, accusing them of tax evasion. However, the recent court proceedings revealed that the FIRS amended these charges, leading to the dismissal of the tax evasion allegations. This move followed Binance‘s appointment of Ayodele Omotilewa as its Nigerian representative to handle local operations.

Binance’s Response

Binance expressed relief at the court’s decision, emphasizing that Gambaryan is not a decision-maker at the company and should not be held accountable for the company’s tax issues with the Nigerian government. In a statement shared with the Nigerian online news platform PUNCH, Binance stated, “We are relieved that the Federal Inland Revenue Service has served and filed amended charges today, resulting in tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan being dropped.”

The company also urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to take similar steps, highlighting Gambaryan’s deteriorating health due to 110 days of detention, during which he was diagnosed with malaria and pneumonia.

Health Concerns and Legal Battles

Tigran Gambaryan’s health has significantly worsened during his detention. Despite a court order from Justice Emeka Nwite to take Gambaryan to the hospital, it took prison authorities 11 days to comply. His condition deteriorated further after collapsing in court on May 23rd.

International Attention

The case has attracted international attention, with 16 U.S. Members of Congress, including the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, writing to President Biden. They highlighted Gambaryan’s situation as a “U.S. Citizen wrongfully detained by a foreign government” and urged increased efforts to secure his release.

Broader Implications for Binance

The Federal Government’s scrutiny of Binance extends beyond tax issues. The cryptocurrency exchange has been accused of manipulating foreign exchange rates, leading to further investigations into its operations. The EFCC is prosecuting Binance and its executives on charges of alleged money laundering and foreign exchange violations. This intensified scrutiny followed the Nigerian government’s broader campaign against currency speculation and the ban on cryptocurrency channels.

Upcoming Hearings

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 19th, where the application for an order for the enforcement of fundamental rights will be heard. The EFCC trial is set to continue on June 20th while Gambaryan remains in Kuje prison.

This case underscores the complex legal and regulatory landscape facing cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Nigeria. Binance’s ongoing legal battles and the health concerns of its executives highlight the urgent need for clear regulatory frameworks to manage the intersection of cryptocurrency operations and national financial regulations.

Call for Transparency and Cooperation

Binance has reiterated its commitment to resolving these issues transparently and cooperatively with the Nigerian government. The company’s swift actions and public statements aim to assure stakeholders of its dedication to compliance and resolution.

For further updates and detailed analysis, continue following FinTelegram as we provide ongoing coverage of this evolving situation.

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