Alleged tax evasion: FIRS moves to file charges on fleeing Binance executive

A file photo combo of Nadeem Anjarwalla and the Binance logo.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, has fixed May 17th to rule on an application by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), seeking to serve by substituted means the charge against a top executive of Binance Holdings Limited, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who fled from custody while awaiting trial.

Moses Ideho, Counsel to FIRS, hinted at moves to serve the charge of the fleeing defendant, on Tigran Gambaryan, the defendant who has been available since the matter started.

This comes days after the Presiding Judge, Justice Emeka Nwite, had ruled that it was proper to serve on Gambaryan, the charge against Binance, which is the first defendant in the case.

The judge had granted the application of the prosecution, stating that the defendant could represent the crypto-exchange company.

The counsel to the defendant, Chukwuka Ikwazuonu, however, said it was inappropriate to serve a criminal charge of another defendant on his client, prompting the judge to adjourn the matter for ruling on the mode of service.

Anjarwalla Escapes From Custody

Last month, Anjarwalla escaped the custody of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

He was a suspect in the Federal Government’s ongoing probe into Binance activities in Nigeria.

“The Office of the National Security Adviser confirms that Nadeem Anjarwalla, a suspect in the ongoing criminal probe into the activities of Binance in Nigeria has escaped from lawful custody on Friday, 22 March 2024,” the NSA Office said.

“Upon receiving the report, the Office of the NSA took immediate steps, in conjunction with relevant security agencies, MDAs, as well as the international community, to apprehend the suspect.

“Preliminary investigation shows that Mr Anjarwalla fled Nigeria using a smuggled passport,” it said.

“The personnel responsible for the custody of the suspect have been arrested, and a thorough investigation is ongoing to unravel the circumstances that led to his escape from lawful detention.”

Until his escape, Anjarwalla, who holds British and Kenyan citizenship and serves as Binance’s Africa Regional Manager, was facing trial in Nigerian courts.

The suspect escaped while under a 14-day remand order by a court. He was scheduled to appear before it again on April 4, 2024.