EFCC arraigns Binance Executive for ‘Money Laundering’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned Binance Holdings Limited, a cryptocurrency firm, and Tigran Gambaryan, the company’s head of financial crime compliance, over allegations of money laundering.

The company and its executive were arraigned on a five-count charge before Emeka Nwite, judge of a federal high court in Abuja.

On February 28, Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa, were detained by the Nigerian authorities.

Although Anjarwalla escaped from the custody of the office of the national security adviser (ONSA), both executives, alongside Binance, were charged by the federal government for tax evasion.

Gambaryan and Binance are the only defendants in the money laundering charge.

At the last adjournment, Mark Mordi, counsel to Gambaryan, had opposed the scheduled arraignment.

Mordi said the proposed arraignment cannot go on since the 1st defendant (Binance) was not served with the court processes.

However, E.E Iheanacho, EFCC counsel, said the prosecution attempted to serve the processes on the first defendant through the second defendant, but Gambaryan refused to accept service.

Mordi, in response, said his client is not in the position to represent Binance without formal authority.

Delivering a ruling on the arguments on Monday, the judge held that Binance had admitted in their affidavit that Gambaryan had represented the company in meetings and trainings held in Nigeria previously.

Nwite said the argument of the defendant’s lawyer that there is no official letter appointing Gambaryan as the company’s representative “is neither here nor there”.

Consequently, he ruled that service of the charge on the second defendant on behalf of Binance is deemed as “proper service”.

The court official proceeded to read the charges to the defendants.

Gambaryan pleaded not guilty to the charges while a plea of not guilty was also entered for the company.

However, the judge held that the defendant should remain in Kuje prison pending hearing of the bail application on April 18.

The matter has been adjourned to May 2 for commencement of trial.

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Comfort Samuel

I work with TV360 Nigeria, as a broadcast journalist, producer and reporter. I'm so passionate on what I do.

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