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Court Remands Binance Executive In Abuja Prison

A Federal High Court in Abuja has remanded a Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan in Kuje correctional centre pending the determination of his bail application.

The trial judge, Justice Emeka Nwite gave the order after he pleaded not guilty to the money laundering charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday.

The EFCC had accused Binance, Gambaryan, and fleeing Nadeem Anjarwalla of concealing the source of the $35,400, 000 generated as revenue by Binance in Nigeria knowing that the funds constituted proceeds of unlawful activity.

Binance Holdings Limited and Tigran Gambaryan’s arriangement were stalled on 4th of April following an objection from Gambaryan’s counsel, Mark Mordi, (SAN).

Mordi had insisted that his client could not be arraigned following the failure of the EFCC to perfect service on Binance Holdings Limited.

However, the counsel for the EFCC, E.E. Iheanacho, noted that the second defendant was a representative of Binance in the country, adding that the charge was served on him on behalf of the company, but it was rejected.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Nwite said the service on Gambaryan on behalf of the company was proper.

He held that Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act stipulates that service must be effected on a chief agent of a company within the jurisdiction.

Justice Nwite added that all the prosecution needed was to establish that the person being served was an agent of Binance.

The judge held, “Does the second defendant qualify as an agent of Binance?

“From the above statement, the second defendant is the duly appointed representative of Binance. The second defendant is bound to receive a summons on behalf of Binance.

“The service of the second defendant on behalf of the first defendant is proper. The court should proceed with the arraignment of the defendants.”

Moreover, he noted that in an affidavit deposed by Gambaryan’s lawyer, he claimed his client and Anjarwalla travelled to Nigeria to attend a meeting with Nigerian government officials on behalf of Binance.

The charges were then read to Gambaryan, but he pleaded not guilty for himself and Binance.

The prosecution counsel requested a date for the commencement of the trial.

But Gambaryan’s lawyer, Mordi pleaded with the court to grant his client’s bail application.

Mordi said, “I am happy to go to trial. But there is a question of the second defendant’s custody. He has been in custody for 40 days. This is a foreign national. There’s nothing more significant than where he is going after here. We are created by God and the greatest thing anyone can have is freedom.”

However, Iheanacho stated, “The proper place to be post-arrangement is a correctional centre. We have Nigerians convicted in the US. His detention was proper. They raised a Preliminary Objection which the magistrate court dismissed.”

Mordi, however, urged the court in the alternative to keep his client in the EFCC custody.

The judge subsequently adjourned the matter till 18th of April for the ruling on Gambaryan’s bail application and 2nd of May for commencement of trial.

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