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The tax evasion case involving Binance Holdings Limited, a renowned cryptocurrency exchange, and two of its executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, has been adjourned by a Federal High Court in Abuja. This was also mentioned in a tweet by Imran Muhammad, a member of the ruling party, APC. The hearing, which was scheduled for Thursday, was unable to proceed due to the Federal Inland Revenue Service’s (FIRS) failure to serve the defendants with the charge.

Nigeria's SEC Proposes 400% Increase in Crypto Firm Registration Fees.
Nigeria’s SEC Proposes 400% Increase in Crypto Firm Registration Fees.

During the proceedings before Justice Emeka Nwite, only Tigran Gambaryn was represented by a lawyer. The absence of Nadeem Anjarwalla, who recently escaped from lawful custody, was noted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), but he was represented by counsel.

Chukwuka Ikwuazo, SAN, the lawyer representing Gambaryan, informed the court that his client had not been served with the charge, thereby obstructing the arraignment process. Moses Ideho, the lawyer representing FIRS, acknowledged that the agency had been unable to serve Gambaryan with the charge, despite their efforts to do so while he was in detention at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In light of the circumstances, Gambaryn’s lawyer requested an adjournment to allow his client to consult with his legal counsel. Ikwuazo’s oral application for an adjournment was granted, and the case was rescheduled for April 19, when Gambaryn will have the opportunity to enter his plea.

The charge against the three defendants, as stated in the document marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, encompasses four counts. The first count alleges that Binance Holdings Limited, while providing services to subscribers on its platform known as Binance, failed to register with FIRS for the purpose of paying the relevant taxes administered by the agency.

The offenses stated in the charge are said to be punishable under Sections 8 and 29 of the VAT Act of 1993 (as amended), Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act, 2007 (as amended), and Section 94 of the Companies Income Tax Act (as amended).

Binance, in response to the ongoing case, has distanced itself from the actions of the accused individuals. The company stated that the individual who escaped custody is unknown as a decision-maker within their management. Furthermore, if the person is apprehended by Interpol, they cannot be returned to Nigeria without proper due diligence from their country of origin. Binance emphasized that the invitation to Nigeria was extended voluntarily by the company itself.

As the case unfolds, the adjournment until April 19 provides the defendants with an opportunity to address the charges brought against them, while the authorities continue their efforts to ensure proper service of the charge to all parties involved.

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