Abuja court denies Binance executive bail

Onwubuke Melvin
Onwubuke Melvin

A Federal High Court in Abuja has further postponed the bail application of the Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan even as he remains in custody at the Kuje correctional centre.

Following the counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Iheanacho, Justice Emeka Nwite was persuaded to adjourn proceedings to give Iheanacho more time to deal with new issues put forward by the defendant’s lawyers, according to nairametrics.

Recall the EFCC had accused Binance, Gambaryan, and fleeing Nadeem Anjarwalla of hiding the source of the $35,400, 000 generated as revenue by Binance in Nigeria knowing fully well that the said funds constituted proceeds of illicit activity.

Some of the counts read, “That you, BINANCE HOLDINGS LTD (A.KA BINANCE”) between January 2022 and January 2024 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court not being an authorized dealer in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market used your virtual asset services platform to unlawfully negotiate foreign exchange rates in Nigeria and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 29(1) (C) of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring And Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.

“That you BlNANCE HOLDINGS LTD (“A.K.A BINANCE”), TIGRAN GAMBARYAN, NADEEM ANJARWALLA (now at large), and other persons at large between January 2023 and January 2024 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to conceal the origin of the proceeds of your unlawful activities and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 21 (a) and punishable under section 18(3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.”

Gambaryan’s lawyer, Mark Mordi, SAN, urged the court to grant his client bail on liberal terms after the court approved the EFCC’s arraignment of the defendants.

At today’s proceedings, the EFCC drew the attention of the court that Gambaryan’s lawyer served him a further affidavit to his bail application dated April 16.

In Iheanacho’s view, the defence has raised some issues, and he needs time to respond to them in the interest of justice.

“Our right to a fair hearing should not be denied because justice rushed is justice denied,” He added.

But Mordi pointed out that his client had been in the custody of the federal government for more than 14 days.

He criticised the prosecution for not filing a response to the further affidavit to his bail application.

After hearing the counsel, Justice Nwite agreed to adjourn the case so that the prosecution could formally respond as requested. The case was then fixed for April 22 for a hearing.

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