Tigran Gambaryan
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Tax Evasion: Absence of Binance official, Gambaryan, in court stalls arraignment

The cryptocurrency exchange was dragged to court for tax evasion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) alongside officials of the company, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, who fled the country on March 22, 2024.

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The absence of Binance official Tigran Gambaryan in court on Tuesday stalled his arraignment on the tax evasion charge preferred against him and Binance Holding Limited by the federal government.

The cryptocurrency exchange was dragged to court for tax evasion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) alongside officials of the company, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, who fled the country on March 22, 2024.

Persecondnews recalls that Nigerian authorities on February 28 arrested the former US tax agent, who serves as chief compliance officer for Binance, the largest global cryptocurrency exchange, and his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla when they arrived in the country.

On May 17, in a judgment by an Abuja high court, the presiding judge, Emeka Nwite, denied Tigran Gambaryan bail, saying he was likely to abscond.

In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, they are facing a four-count charge after being accused of failing to register with the FIRS for the purpose of paying all relevant taxes administered by the service.

The FIRS also alleged that while it was offering taxable services to subscribers on its trading platform, the company failed to issue invoices to the subscribers for the purposes of determining and paying its value-added taxes.

At the last adjournment, counsel to the FIRS, Mr. Moses Ideh, served the second defendant, Gambaryan, with the charges with the leave of the court.

However, in last Thursday’s proceedings, Gambaryan failed to appear in court.

The counsel for the second defendant, Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazo (SAN), said the defendant was not in court because the correctional service (prison) had yet to bring him.

He called for a standdown to investigate what might have happened.

Mr. Moses Ideh, representing the FIRS, expressed displeasure over the defendant’s failure to show up and opposed a standdown on the matter.

He told the defence counsel that he knew the defendant would not be in court and did nothing to make him available.

Ikwuazo (SAN), who denied the claims, said the defendant is in the custody of the correctional service, adding that they are to blame for not producing him in court.

He then requested an adjournment and promised to ensure that the defendant would be present in court on the next adjourned date.

Ideh and T.J. Krukrubo (SAN), who represented the first defendant, did not oppose the motion for adjournment.

Justice Nwite adjourned the case until July 14 for arraignment.

The two executives of the company were arrested and detained after they flew into the country as a result of a ban on their website by the Nigerian government over allegations of handling illicit cash flows through their platform.

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