Absence Of Binance Official Stalls Arraignment Over Alleged Tax Evasion

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Again, the arraignment of Binance Holding Limited and its official, Tigran Gambaryan over tax evasion brought against them by the Federal Government failed to hold due to the absence of the defendants in court.

The company, alongside its officials, Tigran Gambaryan who is the 2nd defendant and Nadeem Anjarwalla, 3rd defendant who fled the country were on March 22, 2024 dragged before Federal High Court in Abuja for tax evasion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

FIRS, had in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024 preferred a 4-count charge of failing to register with the agency for the purpose of paying all relevant taxes administered by the service.

The FIRS also alleged that while it was offering taxable services to subscribers on its trading platform, the company failed to issue invoices to the subscribers for the purposes of determining, and payment of its Value Added Taxes.

In the last adjourned date, Counsel for the FIRS, Moses Ideh served the second defendant Gambaryan with the charges with the leave of the court as the case was adjourned for his arraignment.

However, Gambaryan failed to appear in court on Thursday for proceeding.

The Counsel for the second defendant, Chukwuka Ikwuazo (SAN), said he was not in court because the correctional service was yet to bring him.

He asked for a stand down to find out what might have happened.

Moses Ideh, representing the FIRS, expressed displeasure over the failure of the defendant to show up and opposed a stand down on the matter.

He accused the defense counsel of knowing his client was not going to be present in court and not doing enough to make him available.

Ikwuazo (SAN), who denied the claims, said the defendant is in the custody of the Correctional Service and they are to blame for not providing him.

He then asked for an adjournment and promised to ensure that the defendant is present in court on the next adjourned date.

The motion for adjournment was not opposed by Ideh or T.J. Krukrubo (SAN), who represented the first defendant.

Justice Emeka Nwite therefore adjourned the matter till July 14, for arraignment.

It would be recalled that two executives of the company were arrested and detained after they flew into the country as a result of a ban on their website by the Nigerian government over allegations of handling illicit flow of cash through their platform.

The court had ordered Binance to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with comprehensive information on all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.

This led to a spat between Binance and the Nigerian authorities who detained two of Binance’s executives upon arrival into the country.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the detained Binance executives escaped to Kenya according to Interpol and was tried in absentia.

LEADERSHIP also learnt that documents for his extradition to Nigeria have been prepared by the Interpol.

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