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Nigeria Newspapers

Alleged $34.4m fraud: Binance executive Ill-health stalls trial

Binance executive, Gambaryan in court

Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun

The trial of Binance Holdings Limited and its Executive, Tigran Gambaryan before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, could not continue on Thursday, May 23, 2024, due to the ill-health of the defendant.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is prosecuting Gambaryan alongside Binance Holdings Ltd on a five-count charge bordering on alleged tax evasion, currency speculation and money laundering to the tune of $34,400,000 (Thirty-Four Million, Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).

At the resumed sitting on Thursday, defence counsel, Mark Mordi SAN, informed the court of the ill-health of his client and his inability to stand trial.

“In the circumstance of the ill health of the second defendant, it is clear that he cannot stand for trial today, we beseech for the matter to be adjourned till 14 and 17 of July, 2024 to permit him to recover.

Furthermore, we beseech for the defendant to be transferred to Mizamiye hospital Abuja for treatment, and for the court to mandate the Nigerian Correctional Service to issue us a medical report on the examination they conducted on him in their facility”, he said

Responding, prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho said that the matter of the day was for continuation of trial and two of his witnesses were already in court.

On the request of the defendant to be transferred to Mizamiye hospital for treatment, Iheanacho did not oppose, but urged the court to decide on a medical facility that would ensure the safety and security of the defendant.

“My Lord, we will not be opposing the application, and equally not be opposing the defendant the opportunity to be properly treated. But in respect of the defendant making a particular request of a particular hospital is worrisome, but if the court would suggest any other hospital that will ensure the security of the defendant, we don’t have a problem with that,” he said.

After listening to the counsels, Justice Nwite granted the defendant to be taken to Mizamiye hospital or any other hospital the Nigerian Correctional Service deems fit, as long as the security of the defendant is assured.

He further ordered the Correctional Service to issue a medical report of the second defendant to the prosecution and the defence, and adjourned the matter till June 20 and 21for continuation of trial.

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