Nigeria Drops Tax Charges Against Binance Executives, Money Laundering Case Continues

Binance faces tax evasion trial in Nigeria on October 11, amid currency concerns and allegations of economic disruption.

Key Insights

  • Nigerian authorities have dropped tax charges against two Binance executives, leaving the crypto exchange as the sole defendant.
  • Tigran Gambaryan remains in detention facing money laundering charges, with reports of deteriorating health.
  • U.S. lawmakers have urged immediate action to repatriate Gambaryan, while Binance calls for his release.

ABUJA (MarketsXplora) – Nigerian authorities have dropped tax charges against two Binance executives, leaving the cryptocurrency exchange as the sole defendant in the case, Binance said on Friday, expressing relief at the development.

Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) filed amended charges on Wednesday, a Binance spokesperson confirmed, resulting in the withdrawal of tax-related accusations against Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, its Africa regional manager.

The pair, however, still face separate money laundering charges in the country alongside Binance.

“The FIRS has demonstrated professionalism throughout this process,” a Binance representative told MarketsXplora. “This development clearly shows our dedication to resolving the matter with the government in a transparent and cooperative manner.”

Gambaryan, a former U.S. Internal Revenue Service special agent, and Anjarwalla were detained upon arrival in Abuja on Feb. 26, amid allegations of Binance profiting from illegal transactions in Nigeria. Criminal charges were filed against the exchange and both executives on Feb. 28 in a $35 million indictment related to money laundering and tax violations.

Anjarwalla escaped from custody on March 22, while Gambaryan remains detained.

MarketsXplora reached out to the FIRS for comment.

U.S. Lawmakers Demand Action

The case has drawn international attention, with U.S. lawmakers last week calling on President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens to take swift action to repatriate Gambaryan.

“Gambaryan’s health is at serious risk, and we’re gravely concerned for his life. Prompt intervention is crucial to ensure his well-being,” they wrote in a letter.

Court records show Gambaryan was absent from a May 22 hearing, with all parties unaware of his condition or location. When proceedings resumed the next day, he appeared but collapsed, unable to stand when summoned.

Following reports of Gambaryan testing positive for malaria, the judge ordered his transfer to a private hospital. However, U.S. lawmakers claim the prison did not fully comply, allegations Nigerian authorities have refuted.

“For Tigran to reunite with his family, we hope the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will follow suit,” the Binance spokesperson said, referring to the outstanding money laundering charges. “Tigran has been in custody for 110 days, and his health is declining, recently diagnosed with malaria and pneumonia.”

The spokesperson emphasized that Gambaryan does not hold a decision-making role at Binance and his detention is not necessary for the exchange to address issues with Nigerian authorities.

“Binance remains committed to working with the Nigerian government to resolve this matter,” the representative added. “We await the court’s decision to completely discharge Tigran from this case.”

Samson Ononeme

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