Nigerian Court Adjourns Binance Tax Evasion Trial To May 17

A Nigerian court has rescheduled the hearing of a tax evasion lawsuit against Binance and some of its executives to May 17. This adjournment represents the latest development in the ongoing regulatory saga between various agencies of the Nigerian government and the Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange.

Related Reading: Impending Extradition? Nigerian Authorities Trace Fleeing Binance Exec To Kenya – Report

Tax Case Adjourned Over Legal Standstill

On March 22, the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) charged Binance and two of its executives, namely Nadeen Ahjarwalla, head of financial crime compliance, and Tigran Gambaryan, regional manager for Africa, with four counts of tax evasion.

These charges included “non-payment of Value-Added Tax, non-payment of Company Income Tax, failure to tax returns and complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform”, which the FIRS believed occurred from the failure of Binance to initially undergo a registration process before offering its services to Nigerians. 

According to local news media BusinessDay, the case was presented for hearing on April 19, with only Tigran Gimbaryan present in court as Nadeen Ahjarwhalla has long fled the West African nation. Gimbaryan is reported to have refused to take a plea as the FIRS had failed to serve Binance any tax evasion charges.

However, the prosecution argued that the US citizen should defend the interests of himself and the crypto exchange against the charges being presented. In response, Gambaryan’s lawyer stated that since all parties were jointly charged, Binance, being the primary defendant, must be served by the IRS before his client could plead his case in accordance with the Nigerian constitution. 

Following the legal impasse, Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja ruled the case be adjourned to May 17, when he will provide a definite judgment. This represents the second time the FIRS’s tax evasion case against Binance has been adjourned following an initial postponement on April 4 due to the failure of the Nigerian tax regulator to serve Gambaryan ahead of a stipulated court trial.

Binance Troubles In Nigeria Continue

The Binance exchange is currently stuck in a hostile regulatory situation with the Nigerian government. Aside from tax evasion charges, the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has also accused the prominent crypto exchange of laundering over $35 million. 

The Nigerian government has increased regulatory scrutiny of Binance after accusing the exchange of playing a major role in the massive devaluation of the Nigerian naira via speculation and rate fixing. These allegations were followed by the arrest of Gimbaryan and Ahjarwhalla, who had visited the West African nation on February 26 after reports of the government banning certain access to Binance and other crypto exchanges.

Binance has disabled all naira services on its platform and appears committed to resolving all legal issues around the detention of its employees after the exchange’s CEO, Richard Teng, recently confirmed a willingness to cooperate with the Nigerian government. 



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