Binance: court adjourns trial to May 17 as Kenyan police arrest fleeing executive

David Afolayan
CEO, Richard Teng has said that the company is working closely with the Nigerian authorities…
Nigerian court remands Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan in custody
Tigran Gambaryan and his counsels in court. Source: Nairamatrics.

A federal high court sitting in Abuja on Friday has adjourned the tax evasion trial against cryptocurrency exchange, Binance and two executives of the company to May 17. According to a report, the adjournment follows a stalemate since the exchange has not been formally served with the charges.

Sitting Judge, Emeka Nwite adjourned the case to May 17 when he will give a ruling.

Recall that we reported on Friday that the CEO of Binance, Richard Teng has said that the company is working closely with the Nigerian authorities following the detention of its head of financial crime compliance, Tigran Gambaryan.

“What I can say is we are working very closely with the Nigerian authorities to try to resolve the matter,” Teng said while speaking at the Token2049 crypto conference in Dubai.

Read more: Detained executive: CEO says Binance is working with Nigerian government to resolve issues

Two weeks ago, the Government of Nigeria arraigned Tigran Gambaryan at an Abuja court on four counts of charges that include tax evasion and money laundering. Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance was detained alongside Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British Kenyan, Binance’s regional manager for Africa.

Binance secures operational licence in Dubai
Richard Teng, chief executive of Binance.

The charges include non-payment of value-added tax (VAT), company income tax, failure to file tax returns, and helping customers evade taxes through the Binance platform. The Federal Government also accused Binance of failure to register with FIRS for tax purposes and contravening existing tax regulations within the country.

A notable item in the suit references Binance’s alleged failure to collect and remit various categories of taxes to the federation as stipulated by Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 (amended). Section 40 of the Act explicitly addresses the non-deduction and non-remittance of taxes, prescribing penalties and potential imprisonment for defaulting entities.

Gambaryan appeared in court in Abuja on Friday but did not take a plea. Anjarwalla fled the country last month. But Binance has not been charged.

Gambaryan’s lawyer Chukwuka Ikuazom objected, arguing that since Binance and its executives were jointly charged, he could not take a plea until the exchange, the first defendant in the case, had been served, according to Nigerian law.

Binance: Nigerian Government continues to detain 2 employees despite court ruling
Kenyan police arrest fleeing Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla

The Kenya Police Service has arrested fleeing Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, as the International Criminal Police Organisation moves to extradite him to Nigeria within the week.

According to a report by Punch, government sources familiar with the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed the development to our correspondent on Sunday night.  “As we had said before Anjarwalla would be extradited, he has been arrested in Kenya, and he’ll be extradited to Nigeria this week”, the source said.

Similar: “Crackdown on Binance is right but the approach is wrong”- A chat with Oladotun Akangbe of Flincap

The news platform had initially reported that the Federal Government had traced Anjarwalla to Kenya, following his escape from lawful custody in Nigeria. Before that, it was reported that Anjarwalla, whose cover has now been blown, went into hiding immediately after he landed in Kenya.

Nadeem Anjarwalla
Nadeem Anjarwalla

Following the development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the International Criminal Police, the Nigeria Police Force, and the Kenyan Police Service have deepened talks to quicken Anjarwalla’s extradition.

Meanwhile, the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, had in the March edition of its bulletin titled, “EFCC Alert,” confirmed that the commission was working in conjunction with the International Criminal Police Organisation, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the governments of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, and Kenya to extradite Anjarwalla.

Olukoyed said, “The takeover of the prosecution of Binance chiefs by the commission is no less a strong message in the direction of EFCC’s resolve to hedge in distortions and disruptions in the country’s forex market.

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