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Tax Evasion: Absence of Binance Official, Gambaryan, stalls proceedings as Court adjourns to June 14

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Chigozie Ikpo, Abuja

The tax evasion case involving Binance Holdings Limited and its executives got stalled, on Wednesday, after their staff, Tigran Gambaryan failed to show up in court.

Gambaryan, a Top Binance Executive was was billed to appear in court for arraignment, after he was served with the charges levelled against him by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The Cryptocurrency exchange was dragged to court for tax evasion by the FIRS alongside officials of the company, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla who fled the Country on March 22, 2024.

In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, Binance, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were listed as 1st to 3rd defendants.

Binance is facing 4-count charges after being accused of failing to register with the FIRS for the purpose of paying all relevant taxes administered by the service.

The FIRS also alleged that while it was offering taxable services to subscribers on its trading platform, the company failed to issue invoices to the subscribers for the purposes of determining and payment of its Value Added Taxes.

In the last adjourned date, Counsel for the FIRS, Moses Ideh, served the second defendant, Gambaryan with the charges, with the leave of the court, as the case was adjourned for his arraignment.

However, in Thursdays proceedings, Gambaryan failed to appear in court

The Counsel for the second defendant, Chukwuka Ikwuazo (SAN), said he was not in court because the correctional service was yet to bring him. He asked for a stand down to find out what might have happened.

Moses Ideh, representing the FIRS, expressed displeasure over the failure of the defendant to show up and opposed a stand down on the matter.

He accused the defense counsel of knowing his client was not going to be present in court and not doing enough to make him available.

Ikwuazo (SAN), who denied the claims, said the defendant is in the custody of the Correctional service and they are to blame for not providing him.

He then asked for an adjournment and promised to ensure that the defendant is present in court on the next adjourned date.

The motion for adjournment was not opposed by Ideh or T.J. Krukrubo (SAN), who represented the first defendant.

Justice Emeka Nwite therfore adjourned the matter till July 14, for arraignment.

It would be recalled that two executives of the company were arrested and detained after they flew into the country as a result of a ban on their website, by the Nigerian government, over allegations of handling illicit flow of cash through their platform.

A Federal High Court in Abuja subsequently ordered Binance to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with comprehensive information on all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.

This led to a spat between Binance and the Nigerian authorities who detained two of Binance’s executives upon arrival into the country.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the detained Binance executives escaped to Kenya according to Interpol and was tried in absentia. Documents for his Extradition to Nigeria have been prepared by the Interpol.

The Crypto exchange company now faces two separate cases, with that of the EFCC, billed to continue tomorrow.

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