Binance executives to be charged for money laundering


Barring any change, the Abuja Federal High Court has scheduled the arraignment of two Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla for Thursday.


Gambaryan and Anjarwalla will be charged before Justice Emeka Nwite on two separate charges.


The one filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which bothers on money laundering, has five counts.


The other, by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has four counts, in which they were accused of sundry tax infractions.


Anjarwalla who escaped custody on March 22 will be arraigned before Justice Nwite in absentia.


The EFCC, in its charge filed on March 28, accused Binance executives of laundering about $35,400,000.


In count one of the charges, the defendants are alleged to have, between January 2023 and January 2024 in Abuja, carried out the specialised business of other financial institutions without a valid licence


The EFCC said the act constitutes an offence contrary to Section 57(1) and (2) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020 and was punishable under Section 57(5) of the same Act.


In the charge by the FIRS, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024 filed on March 22, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offence on or about February 1 this year.


In count one, the defendants are accused of failing to register with the FIRS to pay all relevant taxes while carrying out and offering services to subscribers on their platform (Binance).


The FIRS said the act constitutes an offence punishable under Sections 8 and 29 of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act of 1993 (as Amended), Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act, 2007 (as amended) and under provisions of Section 94 of the Companies Income Tax Act (as amended).


On March 18, Justice Nwite had ordered Binance to provide the EFCC with a comprehensive data or information of all those trading on its platform from Nigeria.


The judge granted the interim order in a ruling on an ex-parte motion filed by EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho.


The judge said the interim order was to enable the EFCC to investigate its claim that money laundering and terrorism financing activities were being allowed on Binance’s platform.

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