Binance Executives to Face Charges Over Money Laundering Allegations

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Barring any changes, the Abuja Federal High Court has scheduled the arraignment of two executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, for Thursday.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla will be charged before Justice Emeka Nwite on two separate counts.

The first, filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), pertains to money laundering and comprises five counts.

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The second, submitted by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), includes four counts, accusing them of various tax infractions.

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Anjarwalla, who escaped custody on 22 March, will be arraigned before Justice Nwite in absentia.

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The EFCC, in its charge filed on 28 March, accused the Binance executives of laundering approximately $35,400,000.

In the first count of the charges, the defendants are alleged to have, between January 2023 and January 2024 in Abuja, operated the specialised business of other financial institutions without a valid license.

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The EFCC stated that this act constitutes an offence contrary to 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.

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In the FIRS charge, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024 and filed on 22 March, the defendants were allegedly committed the offence on or about 1 February of this year.

In count one, the defendants are accused of failing to register with the FIRS to pay all relevant taxes while carrying out and offering services to subscribers on their platform (Binance).

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The FIRS stated that this act constitutes an offence punishable under 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 under provisions of Section 94 of the Companies Income Tax Act (as amended).

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On 18 March, Justice Nwite ordered Binance to provide the EFCC with comprehensive data or information on all those trading on its platform from Nigeria.

The judge granted the interim order following an ex-parte motion filed by the EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, stating that the interim order would enable the EFCC to investigate claims of money laundering and terrorism financing activities being facilitated on Binance’s platform.

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