Binance manager’s escape confirmed as Nigeria sues crypto company over tax evasion

The Binance company logo

Nigeria’s revenue service, FIRS, has formally charged Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, with four counts of tax evasion, including non-payment of VAT and company income tax.

The case, filed in Abuja, alleges that Binance failed to file tax returns and aided customers in evading taxes through its platform. Binance, however, was not immediately available for comment on the tax charges.

In a statement on Monday, March 25, 2024, Binance acknowledged that Nadeem Anjarwalla, its regional manager for Africa, was no longer under Nigerian custody and assured cooperation with authorities to resolve the issue.

Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan, along with Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, were detained upon their arrival in Nigeria on February 26, following the country’s ban on several cryptocurrency trading websites.

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Sources familiar with the matter revealed that Nigerian authorities sought an extension of the detention of the two Binance executives after the initial warrant expired.

Despite this legal tussle, Binance announced its decision to cease all transactions and trading in Nigeria’s local currency after March 8, in response to the country-wide crackdown on crypto exchanges.

This move comes as Nigerian authorities attribute crypto exchanges to fueling a black market for foreign exchange.

Furthermore, Binance disclosed that it will stop supporting withdrawals, and any remaining balances in Nigerian naira will be automatically converted into Tether, a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar.

The developments highlight the intensifying regulatory scrutiny faced by cryptocurrency exchanges globally, as governments strive to assert control and oversight in the rapidly evolving digital asset landscape.