EFCC to Prosecute Binance Officials for Money Laundering Charges

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to arraign Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, high-ranking officials of Binance Holdings Ltd, on charges of money laundering before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court in Abuja. Despite the escape of Mr. Gambaryan and Mr. Anjarwalla from lawful custody on March 22, they will face trial in absentia.

In the indictment filed by the EFCC on March 28, the defendants are accused of laundering $35,400,000. The charges include operating a specialized financial business without a valid license, a violation of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act of 2020.

Additionally, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is slated to arraign Binance Holdings Limited, Mr. Gambaryan, and the fugitive Mr. Anjarwalla on April 4 for alleged tax evasion, as reported by NAN. Despite the ongoing Easter vacation of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho has granted special permission for Justice Nwite to preside over the case, emphasizing its national significance.

The charges against the defendants by the FIRS accuse them of failure to register with the service for tax purposes, violating various tax statutes. Both cases have been expedited for Thursday’s hearing.

Earlier, on March 18, Justice Nwite had ordered Binance Holdings Limited to furnish the EFCC with comprehensive data of Nigerian users trading on its platform. This interim order aims to aid the investigation into alleged money laundering and terrorism financing activities on the Binance platform.

The EFCC has alleged that the platform has been used for market manipulation, leading to distortions in currency values, particularly the Naira. According to EFCC findings, Binance’s trading volume from Nigeria in 2023 alone amounted to $21.6 billion.

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