Binance’s Nigeria Trial Adjourned to May 17 Amidst Money Laundering Charges

A Nigerian court has delayed the trial of cryptocurrency exchange Binance and two of its executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, to May 17. The postponement came after Binance’s lawyer claimed not to have received essential documents for the case. The trio faces charges of money laundering exceeding $35 million and engaging in financial activities without a license. Despite pleading not guilty, their trial has been beset by delays, with the latest adjournment allowing time for scrutiny of a 300-page document.

Separately, Binance and its executives face tax evasion charges, with proceedings also set for May 17. Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and head of financial crime compliance, has been detained in Nigeria since February. Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan regional manager, reportedly fled custody to Kenya. Interpol is pursuing extradition proceedings for him.

Critics have questioned the validity of Nigeria’s charges against Binance and its executives, particularly concerning the timing of their arrests. The government detained the individuals after Binance announced its cessation of naira transactions. Notably, Gambaryan, despite his role at Binance, allegedly lacked decision-making authority.

Meanwhile, former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao faces legal issues in the United States, having received a four-month prison sentence for failing to maintain an Anti-Money Laundering program. Zhao’s case underscores the heightened regulatory scrutiny facing cryptocurrency exchanges globally.

The delays in Binance’s trial reflect broader regulatory challenges confronting the cryptocurrency industry. As governments worldwide grapple with the proliferation of digital assets, exchanges face increasing legal and compliance pressures. These developments underscore the imperative for robust regulatory frameworks to govern cryptocurrency operations and mitigate associated risks.