Court dismisses tax evasion charges against Binance executives Gambaryan, Nadeem

Binance chief Tigran Gambaryan in court in Abuja on April 4, 2024.

Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court has discharged Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, from the tax evasion allegations levelled against them by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The court’s decision followed a fresh set of amended charges filed by the FIRS after Binance appointed a Nigerian representative named Ayodele Omotilewa.

The FIRS had initially filed legal proceedings against Binance, Gambaryan, and Nadeem on March 22, 2024, alleging tax evasion.

The amended lawsuit claimed that Binance and Gambaryan failed to collect and remit various taxes as stipulated by law.

During the proceedings, Binance’s legal counsel informed the court about the appointment of its Nigerian representative, which led to the FIRS discontinuing the case against Gambaryan and Nadeem.

The fresh charge against Binance accused the platform of offering services to Nigerians without deducting necessary Value Added Taxes (VAT), among other tax-related offenses.

There was a debate in court regarding whether the Binance representative should enter the dock and take a plea on behalf of the corporation. The defense argued that Nigerian law doesn’t mandate such a procedure for corporate representatives.

Ultimately, the judge struck out the previous charges and names of Gambaryan and Nadeem from the case, directing it to proceed with Binance alone.

The court adjourned to July 12th for plea and instructed both parties to submit written addresses on the issue of the representative’s presence in the dock.

This development comes amidst heightened scrutiny of cryptocurrency activities in Nigeria, with Binance facing separate prosecutions and accusations related to foreign exchange rates and money laundering.