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Nigeria drops tax charges against Binance executives

nigeria-drops-tax-charges-against-binance-executives
Edited by
News
Nigeria drops tax charges against Binance executives

Nigeria has dropped the tax charges against two Binance executives, but one executive remains in custody despite health concerns.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) of Nigeria has dropped its tax charges against Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a family spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Friday.

“The FIRS agreed to revise their charges to serve solely on Binance, through its local representative. Tigran will no longer need to appear in court for the FIRS case. This means that Binance is the sole defendant in this case,” the statement read. “This goes to show that both Tigran and Nadeem are not decision makers at Binance, and should never have been detained and charged.”

The FIRS has agreed to adjust the charges so that only the crypto exchange’s local representative is named. This effectively drops all tax charges against Gambaryan and Anjarwalla and names Binance as the defendant. 

It’s important to note that the two executives remain named in a money-laundering case brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency. Gambaryan will also remain in prison despite his health problems. 

Gambaryan is Binance’s head of financial crimes and compliance, and Anjarwalla is its regional director in Africa.

Gambaryan’s health issues

Gambaryan’s health is reportedly deteriorating. Gambaryan was suspected of having malaria after collapsing in court on May 23. 

Now, it is believed he has malaria. A court order was issued for his transfer to a hospital for better medical care. Gambaryan will remain in custody. 

Citing these health issues, a group of ex-United States federal prosecutors and agents called on the U.S. Department of State to step in and assist in Gambaryan’s release. In a letter dated June 6, these former government officials voiced disappointment in the current efforts of the U.S. government, describing them as insufficient. 

Background

Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwall were arrested in February and charged with criminal violations by the Nigerian government. Gambaryan is awaiting trial, while Anjarwall escaped custody and was extradited from Kenya to Nigeria. 

The two individuals arrived in Nigeria to discuss regulatory issues on behalf of Binance and the government’s recent crackdown on cryptocurrency trading platforms with officials. They were arrested and held in a government facility without their passports following the negotiations.

Binance has been trying to persuade Nigerian authorities that Gambaryan lacks decision-making authority in the company. Citing his health, they have argued that he should not be required to appear in court for any charges and should be released.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla — Binance’s regional director for Africa — initially faced four counts of tax evasion, including failing to register with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service.