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The EFCC is set to arraign Binance executives Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla on Thursday

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is scheduled to arraign Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, both high-ranking officials of Binance Holdings Ltd, on Thursday. They face five counts of money laundering charges.

According to reports on Tuesday, Binance, Mr. Gambaryan, and Mr. Anjarwalla, who escaped from lawful custody on March 22 and left Nigeria, will appear before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

The crypto exchange firm and Messrs Gambaryan and Anjarwalla are listed as the first to third defendants, respectively. However, Mr. Anjarwalla, described by the EFCC as “at large” in the counts, is anticipated to be arraigned in absentia.

The anti-graft agency filed a charge on March 28, alleging that the trio engaged in money laundering amounting to $35,400,000.

Count one accuses the defendants of conducting the specialized business of other financial institutions without a valid license between January 2023 and January 2024 in Abuja. This offense is said to contravene sections 57(1) and (2) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020, and is punishable under section 57(5) of the same act.

Additionally, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is set to arraign Binance Holdings Limited, Mr. Gambaryan, and the fugitive Mr. Anjarwalla on April 4. The charges relate to allegations of tax evasion.

In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, the three defendants are set to be arraigned before Justice Nwite on four counts.

Despite the ongoing Easter vacation at the Federal High Court, which commenced on March 22 and is scheduled to end on April 8, Chief Judge Justice John Tsoho has directed the transfer of the Binance case file to Justice Nwite. This transfer occurs even though Justice Nwite is not designated as a vacation judge.

The Chief Judge granted a fiat for Justice Nwite to handle the case during the vacation period due to its significance to national interests.

The FIRS pressed charges and filed them on March 22, alleging that the defendants committed the offense around February 1.

Count one accuses them of operating and providing services to subscribers on the Binance platform without registering with the FIRS to remit all applicable taxes. These offenses are said to be punishable under sections 8 and 29 of the VAT Act of 1993 (as amended), section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act, 2007 (as amended), and provisions of section 94 of the Companies Income Tax Act (as amended), respectively.

Both cases have been scheduled for Thursday to facilitate an expedited hearing process.

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