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March 25, 2024

Detained Binance executive escapes from custody

Detained Binance executive escapes from custody

Nadeem Anjarwalla

One of the Binance executives detained in Nigeria on allegations of tax evasion and other offences, Nadeem Anjarwalla, has reportedly escaped from custody.

Anjarwalla, 38, reportedly escaped from the Abuja guest house, where he and his colleague were detained. He allegedly seized an opportunity provided during Ramadan prayers.

Premium Times reports that despite Nigerian authorities holding his British passport, he is believed to have left the country using a Kenyan passport.

Arrest

In February, Anjarwalla was arrested alongside another executive, Tigran Gambaryan. The pair were arrested after they arrived in the country by officials of the National Security Adviser, NSA, following a ban on their website.

The arrest came amidst efforts by the government to rein in speculation on the Naira by cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges. 

Also, authorities are trying to determine his intended destination to apprehend him and return him to custody.

An immigration official stated that the Binance executive fled Nigeria using a Kenyan passport.

The official disclosed that authorities are investigating how he obtained the passport, as he did not have any other travel document apart from the British passport, when he was arrested.

FG files tax evasion charges against Binance

Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Monday initiated criminal proceedings against Binance.

The lawsuit, designated as suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, implicates Binance with a four-count tax evasion accusation.

Joining the crypto company as second and third defendants in the suit are Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, both senior executives of Binance currently under the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The charges levied against Binance include non-payment of Value-Added Tax (VAT), Company Income Tax, failure to file tax returns, and complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform.

In the suit, the Federal Government also accused Binance of failure to register with FIRS for tax purposes and contravening existing tax regulations within the country.

One of the counts in the lawsuit pertains to Binance’s alleged failure to collect and remit various categories of taxes to the federation as stipulated by Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 as amended.

Section 40 of the Act explicitly addresses the non-deduction and non-remittance of taxes, prescribing penalties and potential imprisonment for defaulting entities.

The charges further detailed specific instances where Binance purportedly violated tax laws. An example is failing to issue invoices for VAT purposes, thus obstructing the determination and payment of taxes by subscribers.

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