EletiofeFG To Arraign Binance Executives For Money Laundering, Tax...

FG To Arraign Binance Executives For Money Laundering, Tax Evasion

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Two top executives of Binance, Nadeem Anjarwalla and Tigran Gambaryan will be arraigned before the Abuja Federal High Court on Thursday, April 4, by the Tinubu-led Federal Government.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, who fled the country two weeks ago, will be charged on two separate charges before Justice Emeka Nwite.

The first charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which focuses on money laundering, has five counts, while the other by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has four counts of sundry tax infractions.

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.

The FIRS charged the defendants on March 22, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, and alleged that they 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 ordered Binance to provide the EFCC with comprehensive data or information on 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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