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Binance Faces Amended Four-count Charge From FIRS

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Friday, filed an amended four-count charge against an online Crypto-exchange company, Binance Holdings Limited, and one of its executives, Tigran Gambaryan, for alleged tax evasion.

The FIRS counsel, Moses Idehu, told the court that the charges needed to be amended following the escape of Nadeem Anjarwalla from custody.

He said it was a much-needed necessity to amend the charge to reflect Anjarwalla’s position in the instant charge since he has fled.

“We apply to substitute our charge dated 22nd of March, 2024 with an amended charge dated 17th of May, 2024.

“We humbly apply my lord, that the charge be read to the 1st and 2nd defendants (Binance and Gambaryan) to take their plea.

“I urge you my lord to proceed with the arraignment of the 1st and 2nd Defendant”, Idehu said”.

Binance lawyer, Chukwuka Ikwuazo, (SAN), whose appearance was for both the 1st and 2nd defendants, objected that the fresh charge be read to his clients.

He insisted that he had just been served today in court and has not had the time to go through the charges and is not in the know what is contained in it.

“I as counsel of the 2nd defendant was served this morning. I have not had time to check. At the very least I should be given time as counsel of the 2nd defendant.

“They just served me in your presence my lord. I don’t have the charge as I speak now”.

The trial judge, Justice Emeka Nwite in a ruling, had ordered FIRS to serve Binance (The company) who is the 1st defendant, through Gambaryan, the 2nd defendant in the charge.

The judge dismissed Ikwuazo’s argument that Gambaryan was neither a director, secretary, or chief agent of Binance.

He held that Gambaryan, being the Binance Chief Financial Compliant Officer, should be served with the charge as the company’s representative in Nigeria by the law.

FIRS counsel had replied, “If we could serve on the 1st defendant and the judge agreed we could serve through the 2nd defendant”.

Gambaryan was accordingly served in court with a Binance Holdings Limited charge.

The matter was adjourned till 22nd of May for arraignment.

The defendants are facing a four-count charge bordering on tax evasion.

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

FIRS stated in Count One that the defendants failed to register with its services, to pay all relevant taxes administered by the service while they carried and offered services to subscribers on their platform called Binance.

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).

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