Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has dropped the tax evasion charges brought against Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla making Binance the sole defendant, one week after sixteen US lawmakers accused Nigeria of holding Gambrayan, hostage. Gambrayan has been detained for 110 days, while Anjarwalla escaped detention on March 22.

“The charges against Mr. Gambaryan are baseless and constitute a coercion tactic by the Nigerian government to extort his employer, Binance,” the lawmakers wrote in a June 4 letter to Biden pointing out that Mr. Gambaryan qualifies, a U.S. Citizen, was “wrongfully detained by a foreign government.”

“We are relieved that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have served and filed amended charges today, resulting in tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan being dropped, further illustrating that Tigran is not a decision-maker at Binance and does not need to be held in order for Binance to resolve issues with the Nigerian government,” a Binance spokesperson said in a statement shared with TechCabal.

Although the tax evasion charges have been dropped, Gambaryan, who has been diagnosed with malaria and pneumonia according to his lawyers, will remain in custody as the money laundering charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are still pending, with a court ruling on the matter yet to be delivered.

Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla were formally charged with tax invasion charges in March 2024 after the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) alleged they failed to pay taxes on cryptocurrency transactions worth billions of naira. The crypto exchange was accused of non-payment of value-added tax and company tax, and failure to file tax returns.

Before the tax invasion charge, Gambaryan was taken into custody by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and held for several days before being released on bail. Gambaryan first appeared in court on February 22, 2024, to face money laundering charges. 

Faith Omoniyi Reporter

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