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Binance Nigeria: Fleeing Exec Arrested In Kenya, INTERPOL Extradition Pending as Tax Evasion Trial Postponed

Last Updated April 22, 2024 11:05 AM
Eddie Mitchell
Last Updated April 22, 2024 11:05 AM
By Eddie Mitchell
Verified by Peter Henn
Key Takeaways
  • A Binance exec who fled Nigerian authorities has been found in Kenya.
  • Nigerian authorities allege Binance is implicit in $35 million worth of money laundering and tax evasion.
  • Money laundering and tax evasion trials should resume from May 2, 2024.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the Binance executives who had fled captivity in Nigeria, has reportedly been arrested in Kenya. INTERPOL should extradite Anjarwalla by the end of the week.

Since his escape, Nigerian authorities have ramped up efforts to bring numerous criminal charges against Binance, Anjarwalla, and fellow executive Tigran Gambaryan.

Extradition from Kenya

Kenta’s Police Service arrested  Anjarwalla over the weekend. Kenya’s authorities are working with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) to send him back to Nigeria for prosecution.

Anjarwalla escaped from Nigerian authorities in late March. Meanwhile, investigators began stacking allegations against him, his colleague, and Binance. Indeed, Anjarwalla’s attempt to flee could be an admission of guilt.

As noted  by Ola Olukoyede, Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC):

“Tax evasion, currency speculation, and money laundering to the tune of $35,400,000 and are at the foundation of the Commission’s five counts against Binance Holdings Limited, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, the company’s chief executives.”

The Binance Nigeria saga began a few months ago. At that time, the government alleged Binance had knowingly manipulated the national currency, damaged the economy, and potentially laundered some billions in illicit/unknown funds.

Anjarwalla and Gambaryan initially went to visit Nigeria to negotiate these concerns. The country’s authorities detained the pair almost immediately after they arrived. After that, Anjarwalla and Gambaryan were “held against their will” with no criminal charges levied against them at the time.

Tax Evasion Charges

Facing four counts of tax evasion, including failure to register with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for tax remittance purposes, Gambaryan appeared in court last Friday, but did not take the plea, delaying proceedings for another month.

Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chulwuka Ikuazom, argued  that due to Binance and the executives’ joint charge, he could not take the plea until authorities charged Binance.

The hearing was adjourned until May 17, 2024, when a ruling should take place. In addition to tax evasion, other formal charges include the laundering of some $35 million by the EFCC. The trial for this case will resume on May 2, 2024.

Tricky Times Ahead

Considering that Anjarwalla is Binance’s regional head for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan serves as the exchange’s head of financial crime compliance, matters look exceedingly troubling for Binance.

It’s worth noting that founder and former CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, is awaiting his criminal sentencing hearing for breach of U.S. anti-money laundering laws.

Zhao‘s hearing will take place on April 30, 2024, just ahead of the Nigerian proceedings in May. Both of these developments could further rock confidence in the world’s leading crypto exchange.

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