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Nigerian government drops tax evasion charges against Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) of Nigeria has dropped tax evasion charges against Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial crime compliance.

This decision was confirmed by FIRS spokesperson Dare Adekanmbi, marking a significant development in the high-profile case against the cryptocurrency giant and its executives.

Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa, were detained by Nigerian authorities on February 28, 2024. The duo, along with Binance, faced allegations of tax evasion and money laundering.

Anjarwalla managed to escape from custody, further complicating the legal proceedings​.

In March 2024, FIRS formally charged Binance and its executives with tax evasion under suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024.

The charges alleged that Binance failed to register with Nigerian tax authorities and evaded taxes, contributing to fiscal instability and currency speculation.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) claimed that over $26 billion had been funnelled through Binance without trace​.

Legal Proceedings and International Reactions

The legal battle intensified when Gambaryan’s bail application was denied by Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja, citing him as a flight risk. The court noted that Gambaryan had attempted to obtain a new passport, raising suspicions following Anjarwalla’s escape​.

Throughout the case, Gambaryan’s legal team emphasised his role as a non-decision-maker within Binance.

Binance issued a statement expressing relief at the charges being dropped, noting, “We are relieved that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has served and filed amended charges today, resulting in tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan being dropped.

“This further illustrates that Tigran is not a decision-maker at Binance and does not need to be held in order for Binance to resolve issues with the Nigerian government.”

Resolution and Statements

On June 14, 2024, FIRS announced the withdrawal of charges against Gambaryan and another unnamed individual.

FIRS spokesperson Dare Adekanmbi stated, “Please note that the charges are being dropped against the second and the third defendants in the matter.”

This development followed months of legal wrangling and significant international attention, including interventions from U.S. lawmakers​​.

Binance praised FIRS for its professionalism during the investigation. The company said, “We await the court’s ruling on this, discharging Tigran from this matter completely. This situation unequivocally demonstrates our commitment to resolving the issue with the government transparently and cooperatively.”​

Ongoing Legal Challenges

Despite the dropped charges against Gambaryan, the case against Binance continues. The Nigerian government is determined to hold the company accountable for alleged financial misdeeds, including facilitating illegal activities and evading taxes.

The next court hearing is scheduled for June 20, 2024, where Binance will continue to defend its practices​​.

Samuel Bolaji

Samuel Bolaji holds a Master of Letters in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is an experienced researcher, multimedia journalist, writer, and Editor. He is currently the Editor of Arbiterz.

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