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FIRS files amended charge against Binance

Screenshot 2024 03 25 at 8.57.10 AM

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has filed an amended four-count charge against Binance Holdings Limited and its executive, Tigran Gambaryan, on alleged tax evasion.

FIRS lawyer, Moses Ideho, made this known on Friday before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court, Abuja.

Ideho informed the court that following the escape of Nadeem Anjarwalla from lawful custody, the agency deemed it necessary to amend the charge to properly reflect Anjarwalla’s position in the instant charge, as being at large.

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

“We apply that the charge be read to the 1st and 2nd defendants (Binance and Gambaryan) in order to take their plea,” he prayed

But counsel for Binance, Chukwuka Ikwuazo, SAN, who also appeared for Gambaryan, opposed to Ideho’s application that the fresh charge be read to his clients.

Ikwuazo argued that the charge was just being filed this morning and he was yet to see it in order to consult with his clients so as to prepare for their defence.

Justice Nwite subsequently adjourned the matter until May 22 for arraignment.

Earlier, the judge, in a ruling, ordered that the FIRS to serve the company (1st defendant) through Gambaryan (2nd defendant) the charge in the matter.

Justice Nwite held that Gambaryan, being the Binance Chief Financial Compliant Officer, ought to be served with the charge as the company’s representative in Nigeria in accordance with the law.

He discountenabce the arguement of Ikwuazo that Gambaryan was neither a director, secretary or chief agent of the crypto-currency firm.

The court had fixed their arraignment for April 4.

However, the arraignment could not proceed due to inability of FIRS to effect service of the charge on the defendants.

The defendants are being charged on a four counts bordering on alleged tax evasion in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024.

In the charge dated and filed March 22 by the FIRS, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offence on or about Feb. 1.

Count one alleged that while involved in carrying and offering services to subscribers on their platform, known as Binance, failed to register with the FIRS, for the purpose of paying all relevant taxes administered by the service.

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) respectively.

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