Arraignment of Binance, Executives by FIRS Suffers Setback over Non-service of Charge

The arraignment of Binance Holdings Limited and two of its executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, on Thursday, could not proceed due to the inability of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to effect service of the charge on the defendants.

When the matter was called for the defendants to take their plea before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court, Abuja, only Gambaryan was represented by a lawyer.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) observed that neither the company nor Anjarwalla, who recently escaped from lawful custody, was represented by counsel.

However, Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chukwuka Ikwuazo (SAN), told the court that his client had not been served with the charge, hence, his arraignment cannot proceed.

FIRS lawyer, Moses Ideho, though acknowledged that the agency had not served Gambaryan with the charge, he said all efforts to do so proved abortive because the defendant could not be reached at the EFCC detention.

Ideho then prayed the court to serve Gambaryan in the open court and the judge directed that the charge be served on him in the dock.

The lawyer, therefore, sought a stand-down of the matter or an adjournment to enable Gambaryan consult with his lawyer.

Ikwuazo did not object to an oral application for adjournment and the matter was adjourned until April 19 for him to take his plea.

NAN had, on March 28, also reported that FIRS would, on April 4, arraign Binance Holdings Limited, Gambaryan and fleeing Anjarwalla, on allegations bordering on tax evasion.

In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, the three defendants will equally be arraigned before Justice Nwite on four counts.

The defendants are being charged on a four-count charge bordering on alleged tax evasion.

In the charge dated and filed March 22 by the FIRS, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offence on or about February 1.

Count one alleged that while involved in carrying and offering services to subscribers on their platform, known as Binance, it failed to register with the FIRS for the purpose of paying all relevant taxes administered by the service.

The offences are said to be punishable under Sections 8 and 29 of the VAT Act of 1993 (as Amended), Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act, 2007 (as amended) and under provisions of Section 94 of the Companies Income Tax Act (as amended) respectively. (NAN)

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