“Binance Tax Evasion Trial Adjourned as EFCC Fails to Serve Charge


Alleged Tax Evasion: Court defers trial of Binance, 2 others till April 8
The Federal High Court in Abuja has postponed the scheduled arraignment of Binance Holdings Limited and its two top officials, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, on a four-count tax evasion charge until April 8.

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The adjournment came after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to serve the charge on the company.

Anjarwalla, the Africa Regional Manager of Binance, had previously escaped custody, prompting the government to initiate extradition proceedings for his return to Nigeria for trial. Alternatively, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 allows for his trial in absentia.

During the court session, Mark Mordi, SAN, counsel to the 2nd defendant, Gambaryan, objected to the prosecution’s attempt to serve Binance Holdings Limited’s charge to his client. Mordi argued that his client had no authority to receive service on behalf of the company as he was neither its agent, director, nor representative in the country.

However, the EFCC, represented by Ekele Iheanacho, urged the court to dismiss the objection and proceed with the trial, arguing that Gambaryan was a representative of the company and should accept service of the charge on its behalf.

After hearing both sides, Justice Emeka Nwite adjourned the matter for ruling.

The EFCC had alleged that Binance operated illegally in Nigeria by not registering to conduct business or paying taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). The charges include failure to issue invoices for value-added taxes (VATs) to subscribers and failure to deduct VATs from cryptocurrency transactions.

The prosecution informed the court that investigations into the matter had been substantially concluded, and there were reasonable grounds to establish a prima facie case of tax evasion against the accused persons.

Earlier, the court had ordered Binance to provide comprehensive data of all Nigerian traders on its platform and transaction history for the past six months to the EFCC. This action followed allegations by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, that approximately $26 billion passed through Binance from unidentified sources, prompting an investigation into possible money laundering and terrorism financing.

After failed negotiations, Binance discontinued all transactions in naira on its exchange platform on March 8, following reports that the government demanded $10 billion in retribution for allegedly profiting from illegal transactions in Nigeria.

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