Court Discharges Binance Executives On FIRS’ Amendment Of Charges

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday discharged two executives of the cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla following the amendment of charges on tax evasion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

In its ruling, the court released the executives based on the amended charges filed by revenue service in view of a notice from Binance about its appointment of a Nigerian representative, Ayodele Omotilewa.

Although Binance was not represented by its counsel in court, Gambaryan stood in the dock where the charges read to him.

However, his counsel, Barr. Chukwuka Ikwazuonu, notified the court that his client had not been served with the charge, adding that it is too hasty to have him in the dock without knowing his offense.

The FIRS’ prosecutor, Barr. Moses Ideho, told the trial judge that service of the charge had not been possible due to lack of access to the defendant in custody.

The court subsequently ordered that service of the charge on the defendant be immediately made, after which the judge adjourned till June 19 for the arraignment of Gambaryan.

Meanwhile, in the case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), by its counsel, Barr. E. Iheanacho,  the anti-graft agency told the court that he had served Gambaryan with the charge.

However, the counsel for the defendant said Binance had not been served, arguing again that the arraignment of his client will not be legal.

Mordi further posited that it was necessary to serve every person individually with the charges before the case can proceed, maintaining that his client declined service of the charge on behalf of Binance because he wasn’t authorized to do so.

However, the prosecutor maintained that the defendant, being a top official of Binance, was a fitting representative of the company in this particular instance.

After hearing the parties, the judge also adjourned the case till June 20 for the EFCC trial to continue and as such Tigran will remain detained at Kuje prison.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had accused Binance of abusing the foreign exchange (FX) rates, thereby led to serious scrutiny of crypto trading platforms.

Following the findings by the government, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were slammed with a four-count charge before the court. a case now before the trial judge, Justice Emeka Nwite.

The Federal Government detained two senior Binance executives on February 28 this year when they arrived in Nigeria for a meeting after the ban on Binance.

In addition to the FIRS’ charge of tax evasion on the cryptocurrency platform, the EFCC is prosecuting Binance and its executives on charges of alleged money laundering and foreign exchange violations.

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