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Binance executive arraigned in court for tax evasion and money laundering

In a high-stakes courtroom drama, one of the top executives from Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, stood before an Abuja court to confront serious allegations. Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, faced charges of tax evasion and money laundering alongside his colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla, the regional manager for Africa.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused Gambaryan and Anjarwalla of orchestrating a complex financial web. They allegedly engaged in four counts of tax evasion and were involved in laundering over $35 million. Their actions have sent shockwaves through the crypto community.

The saga began when Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained on February 26 in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into Binance’s operations within Nigeria. Anjarwalla managed to escape custody and fled the country, leaving Gambaryan to face the legal storm alone.

During his court appearance, Gambaryan received the charges for the first time since his detention. However, he chose not to enter a plea immediately. Instead, he will be formally arraigned on April 8 for the money laundering charges and on April 19 for the tax evasion charges.

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Surprisingly, Binance itself has not been directly charged by the EFCC. The commission contends that Gambaryan could be held accountable on the exchange’s behalf. However, Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chukwuka Ikuazom, raised objections. He argued that Gambaryan lacked the authority to represent Binance, emphasising that he was “neither a director, partner, nor company secretary.” Furthermore, Ikuazom maintained that Gambaryan’s plea could not proceed until Binance, as the first defendant, had been formally served, adhering to Nigerian legal procedures.

As the legal battle unfolds, Binance remains unrepresented in court, and the company has yet to issue an official statement. Meanwhile, Gambaryan seeks release, asserting his innocence.

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