Binance Executive On Trial In Nigeria Appeals For US Assistance

Chelsea

The embattled senior executive of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Tigran Gambaryan, has called for assistance from the United States government in a viral video recorded while in detention.

In the video footage circulating online, Gambaryan disclosed that he has been detained for a month, adding that he recently learned his partner, Nadeem Anjarwalla, had escaped from lawful custody.

This is Gambaryan’s first public statement since his detention on February 26, 2024.

Gambaryan emphasised his non-involvement in Anjarwalla’s escape, stating that he has been a police officer all his life.

“Hello, my name is Tigran Gambaryan. I am the head of financial crime compliance for Binance. I have been detained by the Nigerian government for a month. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me after today. Today, I discovered that Nadeem escaped. I have nothing to do with it. I was not involved in any of it. They will soon take my phone away. The only thing I ask is that I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been a cop my whole life. I’m asking the United States government to assist me. I need your help, guys. I don’t know if I will be able to get out of this without your help. Today is March 2,” Gambaryan pleaded.

Prior to joining Binance as head of financial crime compliance, Gambaryan served as an IRS agent in the United States.

Recall that LEADERSHIP On February 28, 2024, reported that Nigerian officials detained two senior Binance executives: Nadeem Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British-Kenyan who serves as the regional manager for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan, a 39-year-old American responsible for financial crime compliance at the exchange. Their visit coincided with the government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency trading platforms.

Both were apprehended by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and their passports were seized. In response, Binance ceased trading the Nigerian Naira against major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and tether.

Binance faces a slew of allegations in Nigeria, ranging from money laundering to tax evasion, totaling $35 million.

In March, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) filed a lawsuit against Binance in Abuja, accusing the company of tax evasion, citing four instances of non-compliance. These include failure to remit value-added tax (VAT) and company income tax (CIT), along with not adhering to tax return filing obligations. Binance is also charged with facilitating tax evasion for its users.

Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that Binance failed to register for tax purposes with the FIRS and violated the country’s tax laws.

The Federal High Court has adjourned the case involving Binance and its executives to May 17, 2024. The trial will address the charges of money laundering and tax evasion.

In addition to this, Binance and its executives face a separate four-count charge of tax evasion, which will also resume on May 17.

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