Nigeria’s Legal Battle with Binance: Tax Evasion Claims and Executives’ Detention

The embattled cryptocurrency exchange Binance continues to grapple with legal issues in Nigeria as it faces accusations of tax evasion and other regulatory challenges.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in Nigeria has filed charges against Binance Holdings Limited and two of its executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, for alleged tax evasion. The charges include 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.

Recent court proceedings related to the tax evasion cases against Binance and its executives have been adjourned in the Federal High Court in Abuja. The adjournment was primarily due to the FIRS’s inability to serve the charges to Tigran Gambaryan while he was in custody. Gambaryan, who serves as Binance’s Head of Financial Crime Compliance, appeared in court on Thursday, but the case has been adjourned until April 19.

While Gambaryan attended the court hearing, his co-accused, Nadeem Anjarwalla, has reportedly escaped custody after being detained along with Gambaryan in February. Gambaryan remains in the custody of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as the legal proceedings unfold.

Binance has responded to the legal challenges by emphasizing that Tigran Gambaryan, despite his executive position, does not have decision-making power in Nigeria. The exchange has urged Nigerian authorities to exclude Gambaryan from ongoing discussions, highlighting his background as a former U.S. Federal Agent dedicated to law enforcement.

Despite the regulatory challenges, Binance has expressed its willingness to engage in dialogue with Nigerian authorities to address concerns and resolve the issues at hand. However, the exchange’s attempts to find common ground with local regulators have been met with additional charges and legal proceedings.

As Binance navigates the complex regulatory landscape in Nigeria, the outcome of the ongoing legal proceedings remains uncertain. The exchange’s efforts to comply with local regulations and resolve disputes demonstrate the challenges inherent in operating in emerging cryptocurrency markets. Moving forward, Binance will continue to face scrutiny from regulatory authorities as it seeks to maintain its presence in Nigeria and other jurisdictions worldwide.