Nigeria Drops Tax Charges Against Binance Executives

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  • Nigeria’s Inland Revenue Service has dropped tax charges against Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla
  • The revised charges have named Binance as the sole defendant, exempting Gambaryan from court
  • This action has reinforced the suggestion that the executives never had a case to answer

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) of Nigeria decided last week to drop tax charges against Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, focusing solely on the crypto exchange itself. The revised charges will now name Binance, through its local representative, as the defendant, exempting Gambaryan, who is currently ill, from appearing in court. The action reinforces the suggestion, made since the executives’ arrest in February, that they never had a case to answer.

Gambaryan Still Faces Money Laundering Charges

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla had been implicated in a broader investigation against Binance, with the executives charged alongside the exchange. While Anjarwalla managed to escape shortly after his detention, Gambaryan remained in custody, where is thought to have contracted malaria.

The FIRS’s decision to revise the charges means Gambaryan will no longer have to represent Binance in court, but both executives are still entangled in a separate money-laundering case brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A Gambaryan family spokesman told Coindesk that the decision showed that “both Tigran and Nadeem are not decision-makers at Binance and should never have been detained and charged.” Gambaryan holds the position of head of financial crime compliance at Binance, while Anjarwalla is a director for the company’s Africa operations.

Hearing Slated for June 20

The next hearing in the money-laundering case is slated for June 19, during which an application for the enforcement of fundamental rights will be considered. The trial is scheduled to resume on June 20, with Gambaryan still detained at Kuje prison.

A Binance spokesperson also commented on the dropping of the charges:

In order for Tigran to be allowed to go home to his family, we are hopeful that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will take similar steps. Tigran has been detained for 110 days, and his physical health is deteriorating, including a recent malaria and pneumonia diagnosis. Binance is committed to continuing to work with the Nigerian government to resolve this.

Gambaryan’s health has indeed worsened. On May 23, he collapsed in court due to malaria, and his condition has since deteriorated further, now including pneumonia. Despite a court order from Justice Emeka Nwite to provide medical attention, prison authorities delayed taking him to the hospital by 11 days, and the results of the brief check-up have not yet been shared with his family.

“We really need the U.S. government to intervene more forcefully for the immediate release of an innocent American citizen,” pleaded Yuki Gambaryan, Tigran’s wife. “This has gone on too long, and Tigran’s life is at risk.”

A coalition of over 100 former federal prosecutors and agents recently urged Secretary of State Tony Blinken to intensify efforts to secure the release of Tigran Gambaryan.