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Nigerian Authorities Drop Tax Evasion Charges Against Detained Binance Compliance Executive

The health of Tigran Gambaryan, an American, is also deteriorating, his family said

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on June 15, 2024, 11:15:41

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nigeria drops tax case against binance executive

 

Nigerian authorities have dropped some of the charges against two Binance executives, including a compliance executive of the cryptocurrency exchange who has been detained in the country since February.

Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service filed amended charges on Friday, dropping tax evasion charges against Tigran Gambaryan, the firm’s head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, its regional manager for Africa, a spokesman for Binance said on Friday.

Binance itself is now the only defendant in the tax evasion case, a spokesman for Gambaryan’s family said. Binance and the two executives still face charges of money laundering and of providing financial services without a licence from Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The next hearing for the case is scheduled for 19th June, the family spokesman for Gambaryan said. Gambaryan, an American and a former special agent at the Internal Revenue Service for a decade, has been detained in Nigeria since late February and will remain detained at Kuje prison.

Anjarwalla, who was detained together with Gambaryan, escaped and fled abroad in March. "Dropping charges further illustrates that Tigran is not a decision maker at Binance and does not need to be held in order for Binance to resolve issues with the Nigerian government.

We await the court’s ruling on this, discharging Tigran from this matter completely," the Binance spokesman said, adding that Binance is committed to continuing to work with the Nigerian government to resolve the issue.

Gambaryan’s family said his health has also deteriorated during the detention. He collapsed in court on May 23 with malaria and now has pneumonia, the spokesman said.

"This clearly shows that any issues between the Nigerian authorities and Binance can be resolved without holding my husband in prison. I sincerely hope the Nigerian authorities will now see how unnecessary it is to keep Tigran at Kuje," his wife Yuki Gambaryan said in a statement. "My biggest concern at the moment is Tigran’s deteriorating health and the awful conditions he is being kept in."

Representatives for Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Binance and Nigeria have been at odds since February, when authorities there blamed the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange for helping to crash its currency and for an alleged lack of money-laundering controls.

Earlier this month, several members of Congress called on President Biden to step up efforts to release Gambaryan from detention in Nigeria. More than 100 former federal agents also wrote to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to ask him to help with his release.

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