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Binance tax evasion case hindered by service dispute

Alleged Tax Evasion Trial Faces Obstacle as Defendant Remains Unserved with Charges

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The eagerly anticipated arraignment of Binance Holdings Limited and two of its executives for purported tax evasion encountered a setback on Thursday, with proceedings stalling due to an unresolved issue regarding the service of charges against one of the executives.

Moses Ideh, representing the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), informed the court that the arraignment was hindered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) denial of access to the detained Binance executive. Notably, the executives facing charges alongside the firm are Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, the latter of whom is presently on the run after escaping custody.

During the court session, Anjarwalla was notably absent, prompting concerns regarding the effective delivery of legal proceedings. The FIRS lawyer, Moses Ideh, expressed the inability to serve Gambaryan with the charge sheet due to denied access by the court bailiff.

Consequently, an oral application was made to serve the charge sheet on Gambaryan within the courtroom, a request granted by Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja. However, in light of the circumstances, the judge opted for an adjournment rather than a mere stand-down, allowing time for Gambaryan’s legal counsel to review the charges and prepare a defense.

In the charge presented by the FIRS, Binance Holdings Limited stands accused of failure to register with the agency, thereby evading taxes. Additionally, the FIRS alleges that the company, while offering taxable services to subscribers on its trading platform, neglected to issue invoices for the determination and payment of value-added taxes.

Furthermore, the proceedings shed light on the escape of Anjarwalla, with assurances from the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, that efforts are underway to re-arrest him through the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL).

In a separate development, money laundering charges against Binance Holdings Limited and its official, Tigran Gambaryan, were adjourned till April 8. The adjournment followed objections raised by the defense regarding the failure of the EFCC to serve Binance Holdings Limited with the charges.

Mark Mordi, representing Gambaryan, contended that the arraignment couldn’t proceed without proper service to the first defendant, highlighting a procedural hiccup in the legal proceedings.

Despite the ongoing legal wrangles, the case underscores broader concerns regarding tax evasion and money laundering allegations, signaling the challenges faced by regulatory authorities in ensuring compliance within the financial sector.

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