Binance Officials Set for Arraignment Tomorrow on Money Laundering and Tax Charges


The Federal High Court in Abuja has set the stage for the arraignment of Binance Holdings Limited and two of its officials – Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla – scheduled for tomorrow.
The trio, who managed to escape from lawful custody on March 22, will face Justice Emeka Nwite to answer to two separate charges.

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One charge, filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), centers on money laundering and comprises five counts.
The other, brought forth by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), involves four counts, accusing them of various tax infractions.

According to sources, Anjarwalla is expected to be arraigned in absentia.

In the EFCC charge filed on March 28, the defendants are accused, among other offenses, of laundering approximately $35,400,000.
Count one of the charges alleges that between January 2023 and January 2024 in Abuja, the defendants conducted the specialized business of other financial institutions without a valid license.

This act, as per the EFCC, violates Section 57(1) and (2) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, and is punishable under Section 57(5) of the same Act.

In the FIRS charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024 and filed on March 22, the defendants are accused of committing the offense on or about February 1 of the current year.
Count one of this charge alleges that the defendants failed to register with the FIRS to pay all relevant taxes while offering services to subscribers on their platform (Binance).

The FIRS asserts that this act violates Sections 8 and 29 of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act of 1993 (as Amended), Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act, 2007 (as amended), and Section 94 of the Companies Income Tax Act (as amended).

On March 18, Justice Nwite ordered Binance to furnish the EFCC with comprehensive data or information on all those trading on its platform from Nigeria.
This interim order was granted in response to an ex-parte motion filed by EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho.

The judge’s decision stemmed from EFCC’s claim that money laundering and terrorism financing activities were being facilitated on Binance’s platform.
According to EFCC, the platform has been used for price discovery, confirmation, and market manipulation, causing significant market distortions and the devaluation of the Naira against other currencies.

Information provided by Binance to EFCC investigators revealed that the total trading volume from Nigeria alone amounted to $21.6 billion in 2023.

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