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Binance Representative Remanded in Nigerian Correctional Service Amidst Legal Battle

Binance Representative Remanded in Nigerian Correctional Service Amidst Legal Battle
Binance Representative Remanded in Nigerian Correctional Service Amidst Legal Battle

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the remand of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance representative in the Nigerian Correctional Service pending the determination of his bail application.

This decision follows a series of legal proceedings involving Gambaryan and Binance Ltd, accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of money laundering and foreign exchange contravention amounting to $35,400,000.

The courtroom drama unfolded as Justice Emeka Nwite overruled Gambaryan’s assertion that he was not an agent of Binance Ltd, asserting that Gambaryan, representing Binance in Nigeria, must take his plea immediately.

The EFCC’s planned arraignment last Thursday was stalled due to Gambaryan’s legal team’s objection, emphasizing his lack of authority to accept service on behalf of Binance.

However, the EFCC argued that Gambaryan served as the sole agent of Binance in Nigeria, a claim validated by the judge’s ruling under Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. Consequently, Gambaryan pleaded not guilty to the charges on behalf of himself and Binance, setting the stage for a trial scheduled for May 2, 2024, with a bail application hearing slated for April 18, 2024.

Notably, Binance and its executives face dual legal battles, with the FIRS pursuing a case of tax evasion and the EFCC focusing on money laundering and foreign exchange violations. The executives have also lodged a fundamental rights case against Nigerian government agencies, alleging a breach of their constitutional liberties.

The legal saga began following the detention of Nadeem Anjarwalla and Tigran Gambaryan by Nigerian authorities on February 28.

Anjarwalla, the regional manager for Africa, and Gambaryan, the head of financial crime compliance at Binance, were detained during a visit to Nigeria amid the government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency channels. Anjarwalla has since fled the country, confirmed by the National Security Advisor.

The backdrop to these legal manoeuvres includes Nigeria’s efforts to stem currency speculation, which has led to a significant devaluation of the Naira, exacerbating local dollar shortages. These challenges underscore the broader implications of the legal battle involving Binance and its representatives in Nigeria.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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