Binance Faces Tax Evasion Charges in Nigeria Amid Executive’s Escape: Reports

The world of cryptocurrency is facing heightened scrutiny in Nigeria as Binance, the leading cryptocurrency exchange, finds itself embroiled in a legal battle with the Nigerian government. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has charged Binance with tax evasion, alleging non-payment of value-added tax (VAT), company income tax, failure to file tax returns, and complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform,  local media outlets reported.

This development follows the detention of two senior Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, who arrived in Nigeria in February. Anjarwalla, a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Kenya, recently made headlines by reportedly escaping custody, leaving authorities scrambling to determine his whereabouts.

Anjarwalla’s escape adds a dramatic twist to an already tense situation. Nigerian authorities are working with Interpol to secure an international arrest warrant for him, highlighting the seriousness of the charges he faces. Meanwhile, Gambaryan remains in custody as the legal battle unfolds.

The Nigerian government’s crackdown on Binance stems from concerns over illicit financial activities facilitated through the platform. Central Bank Governor Olayemi Cardoso raised alarms over the significant flow of funds, amounting to $26 billion, passing through Binance in Nigeria without adequate identification of sources and users. This has prompted accusations that crypto firms like Binance are disrupting Nigeria’s exchange rate and assuming roles typically reserved for the central bank.

In response to mounting pressure from regulators, Binance recently halted support for the Nigerian naira on its platform, signaling its ongoing struggle to navigate the evolving regulatory landscape in the country.

Binance’s legal troubles in Nigeria come on the heels of a $4.3 billion settlement with the U.S. government to resolve a Department of Justice investigation. The exchange is also grappling with regulatory challenges in India, where authorities have taken steps to restrict access to its services.

As the cryptocurrency industry continues to face heightened regulatory scrutiny globally, Binance’s experiences in Nigeria serve as a stark reminder of the importance of compliance and cooperation with regulatory authorities. While the outcome of the legal proceedings remains uncertain, one thing is clear: the crypto landscape is rapidly evolving, and market participants must adapt to navigate the shifting regulatory terrain effectively.