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Binance executive escapes detention in Nigeria

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Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of two Binance executives arrested in Nigeria for alleged tax evasion and other offenses, has allegedly escaped detention.

According to Premium Times, Anjarwalla, 38, escaped from the Abuja guest home where he and his colleague were being held on Friday, March 22, when guards brought him to a local mosque for prayers in honor of the ongoing Ramadan fast.

The Briton, who also has Kenyan citizenship, is reported to have flown out of Abuja on a Middle Eastern airliner.

It is unclear how Anjarwalla boarded an international flight even though his British passport, which he used to enter Nigeria, is still in Nigerian authorities’ custody.

Authorities are also claimed to be seeking to determine his intended destination to return him to custody.

According to an immigration official referenced in the newspaper, the Binance executive escaped Nigeria using a Kenyan passport.

He did, however, say that officials were investigating how he obtained the passport, considering that he had no other travel documents (save the British passport) with him.

Another source stated that the two officials were at a “comfortable guest house.” They were said to have been allowed many rights, including telephones, a privilege Anjarwalla exploited to plot an escape.

Anjarwalla, Binance’s Africa regional manager, and Tigran Gambaryan, a US citizen in charge of financial crime compliance at the cryptocurrency exchange platform, were detained when they arrived in Nigeria on February 26, 2024.

The Nigerian government filed a criminal charge against the two executives in Abuja’s Magistrate Court.

On February 28, 2024, the court granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) an order remanding the couple for 14 days.

The court also ordered Binance to supply the Nigerian authorities with data and information about Nigerians who trade on the platform.

Following Binance’s unwillingness to comply with the ruling, the court extended the officials’ remand period for another 14 days to prevent them from tampering with evidence. The court then delayed the case until April 4, 2024.

In addition, on March 22, the Nigerian government petitioned the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The government charged Binance Holdings Limited, Anjarwalla, and Gambaryan with another four-count charge, accusing them of offering services to subscribers on their platform while failing to register with the Federal Inland Revenue Service to pay all relevant taxes administered by the Service and thus committing an offense contrary to and punishable under Section 8 of the Value Added Tax Act of 1993 (as amended).

According to the federal government, Binance provided taxable services to subscribers on its trading platform while failing to produce invoices for them to calculate and pay their value-added taxes.

In doing so, they violated and were punished under Section 29 of the Value Added Tax Act of 1993 (as modified).

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