In a significant legal development, a Nigerian court has determined that Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan can be prosecuted on behalf of the cryptocurrency exchange in an ongoing tax evasion case.

The case involves Binance and its executives, including Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen serving as head of financial crimes compliance, and British-Kenyan national Nadeem Anjarwalla, who holds the position of regional manager for Africa. They collectively face four counts of tax evasion and have also been accused of laundering over $35 million and engaging in specialized financial activities without proper licensing. All parties have pleaded not guilty to the money laundering charges.

Following the court ruling, Binance’s legal representation declined to comment, as did Gambaryan’s lawyer.

Expressing disappointment with the court’s decision, a spokesperson for Binance emphasized that Gambaryan, who lacks decision-making authority within the company, remains detained despite what they perceive as baseless charges. The spokesperson urged for Gambaryan’s release pending ongoing discussions between Binance and Nigerian government officials.

While Gambaryan remains in custody, Anjarwalla fled the country in March, prompting Nigeria’s security adviser’s office to collaborate with Interpol to pursue his arrest.

Binance’s CEO has criticized Nigeria for what he perceives as a troubling precedent, particularly after executives were initially invited to the country for discussions with authorities and then detained as part of a broader crackdown on cryptocurrency-related activities.

Notably, Binance itself has not been directly implicated in the tax evasion case by Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which has indicated that Gambaryan may face charges on the exchange’s behalf.

The court ruling stipulated that Gambaryan, as the chief financial compliance officer of Binance, should be served with the charges against the exchange. This decision was based on his role and his appointment to represent Binance in a meeting held in Nigeria.

Gambaryan is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Wednesday to enter a plea on behalf of Binance. However, his bail application related to the money laundering case was denied by the court.

Nigeria has attributed its currency challenges in part to Binance, citing cryptocurrency platforms as preferred avenues for trading the Nigerian naira amid persistent dollar shortages in the country.

Featured Image: Freepik

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