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Nigerian Court Dismisses Escaped Binance Exec's Suit Against Authorities

Highlights:

  • On June 19, a Nigerian court dismissed Binance executive Anjarwalla’s fundamental rights enforcement suit against the NSA and EFCC.
  • On February 28, the Nigerian government detained Anjarwalla and Gambarian in a money laundering case. Anjarwalla fled to Kenya on March 22 using a fake passport.
  • FIRS has dropped tax charges against Gambaryan and Anjarwalla.

A federal high court in Nigeria dismissed a human rights lawsuit filed by Binance regional manager Nadeem Anjarwalla against the country’s National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), according to local press reports.

Anjarwalla claimed Nigerian government agencies violated his fundamental rights by detaining him and seizing his passport. On June 19, Justice Inyang Ekwo dismissed the lawsuit due to Anjarwalla’s lack of legal representation. No legal representatives for either Anjarwalla or the respondents were present in court.

Tax Evasion and Money Laundering Charges

Anjarwalla and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, Tigran Gambaryan, were detained and had their passports confiscated on February 28. 

Gambaryan traveled from the United States to assist the company’s defense against accusations of tax evasion and money laundering. The situation took a new turn when Anjarwalla escaped from lawful custody on March 22 using a fake passport, reportedly fleeing to Kenya.

On the other hand, Gambaryan remains under Nigerian custody and is entangled in several legal battles against the authorities. He is presently detained at Kuje Prison and has a pending human rights enforcement case against the Nigerian government.

The Binance Executives Defend Their Rights

Anjarwalla filed a lawsuit on March 28, seeking a declaration that the agencies’ actions were illegal. Simultaneously with the filing, Binance’s lawyer, Tonye Krukrubo, requested to withdraw from the case. According to the Nigerian financial publication Nairametrics, Krukrubo made the request so that Anjarwalla could find another lawyer. Anjarwalla was not in court because he had already escaped from prison and fled to Kenya by then. The court postponed the proceedings until June 19, expecting Anjarwalla to appoint new legal representatives.

In his lawsuit, Anjarwalla argued that the government agencies had violated Section 35 (1) and (4) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended). He stated, “The continued detention of the Applicant by the Respondents is causing immense hardship and emotional stress on the Applicant, his wife and children and other members of his family.”

Gambaryan also filed a lawsuit against the EFCC and NSA separately from Anjarwalla on the same grounds. His case is set for hearing on July 9, and Krukrubo will continue as his representative. Gambaryan is also accused of money laundering and has pleaded not guilty. The court refused bail, citing concerns that he might flee.

Read More: Binance Appeals $4.4M Fine By Canadian Regulator Over AML and CFT Violations

FIRS Drops Tax Charges Against the Exchange’s Executives

In March, Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) charged Binance with tax evasion, accusing the cryptocurrency platform of violating four tax laws. Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were listed as the second and third defendants. Last week, the FIRS dropped tax charges against the exchange’s executives Gambarian and Anjarwalla, with Binance now the sole defendant.

Although the tax charges against the executives were dropped, both remain involved in a separate money laundering case brought by EFCC. Binance and the executives have denied the tax evasion charges. The company emphasized that Gambaryan wasn’t a decision-maker at Binance, arguing that his ongoing detention wasn’t necessary to resolve issues with the Nigerian government. A Binance spokesperson expressed optimism that the court would soon clear Gambaryan of all charges.

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Disclaimer: Cryptocurrency is a high-risk asset class. This article is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute investment advice. You could lose all of your capital.

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