Binance Executive Pleads Not Guilty to Money Laundering Charges in Nigerian Court

Tigran Gambaryan, a detained executive from Binance, has pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges in a Nigerian court, local news agency¬†reported. Despite Binance’s assertion that Gambaryan holds no decision-making power within the company, Nigerian authorities continue to detain him, pending trial.

Gambaryan’s plea comes after nearly six weeks of detention in Nigeria, where he faces accusations of money laundering alongside his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla. The charges stem from allegations that Binance facilitated the processing of illegal funds, including accusations of manipulating the exchange rate for Nigeria’s currency, the naira.

Despite Binance’s claims that Gambaryan’s role is limited to overseeing financial crime compliance and lacks decision-making authority, a Nigerian judge ruled that he can be considered a representative of the company under local law. As a result, Gambaryan was remanded to Kuje Prison in Abuja pending trial.

Binance expressed deep disappointment with the court’s decision, emphasizing that Gambaryan’s detention is unjustified given his background as a former U.S. Federal Agent and his limited role within the company. Nevertheless, the judge’s ruling underscores the seriousness of the allegations and the Nigerian government’s determination to pursue legal action against Binance and its executives.

In addition to the money laundering charges, Binance, Gambaryan, and Anjarwalla are also facing accusations of tax evasion from Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has further leveled money laundering allegations against the same parties, reflecting the breadth of legal challenges facing the cryptocurrency exchange.

The case highlights the complexities of regulatory compliance and legal scrutiny facing fintech companies operating in emerging markets like Nigeria. As cryptocurrency adoption grows globally, regulators are increasingly vigilant about enforcing anti-money laundering and tax compliance measures, necessitating robust compliance frameworks for businesses in the sector.

For Binance, the legal battle in Nigeria represents a significant challenge to its operations and reputation in the region. The outcome of Gambaryan’s trial could have far-reaching implications for the company’s future activities in Nigeria and its relationships with regulators and stakeholders.