Court adjourns Binance, executives’ tax evasion case to June 14

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

The Federal High Court has postponed a tax evasion case against Binance to June, as the trial hit a snag on Wednesday, stated the judge.

The adjournment aims to allow for the possible arraignment of the cryptocurrency exchange and two of its executives.

The trial stalled due to the absence of Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, who authorities failed to bring to court without providing a reason for his absence.

In a ruling on Friday, an Abuja court decided that Gambaryan could stand trial in the tax evasion case on behalf of Binance.

CEO Richard Teng accused Nigeria of setting a dangerous precedent after Binance executives were detained during a crackdown on crypto, challenging the trials on charges of tax evasion and money laundering.

Binance and its executives, Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, face four counts of tax evasion, including failure to register with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service. Anjarwalla escaped custody in March but remains on the case, which could stall the trial since Nigerian law requires parties to be served before proceeding.

Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chukwuka Ikwuazom, noted the absence of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla’s status, emphasizing the need for proper legal procedures.

Revenue service lawyer Moses Ideho expressed confusion over Gambaryan’s absence, stating that he was expected to be produced in court by Nigeria’s prison service.

Judge Emeka Nwite adjourned the potential arraignment of Binance and Gambaryan to June 14.

In addition to the tax evasion trial, Binance and its executives face charges of laundering over $35 million by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, with a money laundering trial set for Thursday.

Binance stated it is cooperating with Nigerian authorities following Gambaryan’s detention.

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