Nigeria Charges Binance and Execs with Tax Evasion

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  • Nigeria has escalated its legal dispute with Binance, charging the company with tax evasion
  • The two detained executives have been charged with similar crimes
  • One of those detained, Nadeem Anjarwalla, has managed to escape custody and is on the run

Nigeria has intensified its legal battle with cryptocurrency giant Binance, accusing the company of tax evasion and filing charges against the two detained executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla. The charges against Anjarwalla have been made in absentia as he managed to evade custody on Friday, adding another layer of intrigue to the situation. The pair face a court hearing on April 4, by which time Anjarwalla will presumably be either home safe and sound or back in custody and facing more severe charges.

Charges Finally Arrive

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) disclosed the charges alleging Binance’s non-compliance with value-added tax (VAT), income tax, and involvement in aiding customers in tax evasion through its platform. The FIRS identified Gambaryan and Anjarwalla as defendants in the case filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, where they had been detained since late February.

The executives’ detention stemmed from their visit to Nigeria in February, where they were invited for meetings amidst the government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency channels following currency speculation issues.

Binance is yet to comment on the charges, although its CEO, Richard Teng, rejected a demand from Nigerian authorities that he attend a meeting of Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes earlier this month.

Anjarwalla on the Run

Separately, the National Security Adviser’s office confirmed that, temporarily at least, Gambaryan will be facing the charges alone it confirmed that Anjarwalla had slipped his leash. According to its statement, armed guards allowed Binance’s regional manager for Africa into a mosque near the guest house where they were being held but he escaped.

Given his high profile, however, it is unlikely that Anjarwalla will make it far, unless he can obtain assistance from locals and find a way out of the country. Seeing as his passport will have been seized, however, this will make such a move extremely difficult, making his fate potentially far worse than it could have been.