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Court discharges embattled Binance executives

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Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday discharged two executives of Binance Holdings Limited, accused of tax evasion.

The two freed staff of the crypto currency platform are Tigran Gambaryan, who have been in custody since his arrest in late February and his colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who is said to be at large after escaping from custody in Nigeria.

During the proceedings, Binance’s legal representative, Tonye Krukrubo, informed the court of the appointment of a new representative in Nigeria, Ayodele Omotilewa.

FIRS acknowledged receipt of this appointment but sought to have Omotilewa docked to enter a plea on behalf of Binance. Krukrubo objected, stating that Omotilewa had not been served with the amended charge and argued against the necessity for him to appear in the dock.

Counsel for Gambaryan, C.J. Caleb, supported Krukrubo’s stance, emphasizing that the law does not mandate a corporation’s representative to appear in the dock during criminal proceedings.

In response, FIRS cited Section 481 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), asserting that a representative must be docked for criminal charges.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Justice Nwite granted FIRS’ application to substitute the amended charge and set aside the earlier order requiring Gambaryan’s involvement.

He also directed both parties to submit written arguments regarding whether Binance’s representative should appear in the dock. The matter was adjourned until July 12 for further proceedings.

The latest amended charge accuses Binance Holdings Limited of failing to register with FIRS for tax purposes, contravening Section 8 of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act of 1993 (as Amended).

 

 

 

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