Binance Executive’s Sudden Collapse During Court Trial in Nigeria

2 weeks ago 24
Binance NigeriaBinance Nigeria

LUCKNOW ( — Tigran Gambaryan, a senior Binance executive detained in Nigeria, collapsed during a court hearing at the Federal High Court in Abuja. He had appeared in the court trial centered around alleged foreign exchange violations and money laundering offenses brought by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on May 22.

Binance executive collapsed in the courtSource: X

According to local media reports, Gambaryan had already informed the court that he was unwell on the morning of May 22. This caused him to miss a separate arraignment over tax evasion allegations brought by Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). However, he did make it to the Federal High Court for the money laundering case against him. 

Sudden Collapse or Deliberate Action?

During the money laundering court proceedings against Binance, the court registrar called the case. Gambaryan failed to respond, remaining seated in the back row. Judge Emeka Nwite noticed the executive’s absence and sought an explanation. In response, Gambaryan’s lawyer, Mark Mordi, then assisted him to the dock.

However, in a shocking moment, Gambaryan suddenly collapsed before making it to the dock. His lawyer had to help get him seated in the front row. Mordi explained to the court that a written application detailing Gambaryan’s poor health condition had been submitted prior.

Binance Trial Adjourned in Nigeria — Bail Denied

Citing Gambaryan’s sudden collapse, his lawyer requested an adjournment to allow the Binance executive to receive medical treatment. Mordi argued it would be “untenable” to proceed with the case given his client’s medical emergency.

Subsequently, the court set June 20 and 21 for cross-examination and the trial’s continuation. On May 16, the judge had denied Gambaryan’s request for bail. Emeka Nwite raised the EFCC’s concerns that Gambaryan posed a flight risk if released from the Kuje Correctional Centre, where he is currently detained.

Gambaryan was transferred to the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja in April 2024 after pleading not guilty to the money laundering charges brought against him by the EFCC.

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Binance CEO Alleges Coercion Attempt

More broadly, the Nigerian government has accused Binance of improperly influencing foreign exchange rates through its cryptocurrency trading operations. In March, the FIRS filed tax evasion charges against Binance and its executives, Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla. The charges included failure to register with the FIRS, failure to pay company income tax, failure to pay value-added tax, and facilitating tax evasion.

The legal issues have culminated in Binance’s effective exit from the Nigerian crypto market. On March 5th, Binance announced it would cease all transactions denominated in the Nigerian naira currency. It had already delisted all naira trading pairs on its peer-to-peer platform in late February.

In a statement, Binance CEO Richard Teng alleged that during meetings in early 2024, Nigerian authorities had improperly tried to coerce the exchange’s representatives into an off-the-books settlement paid in cryptocurrency.

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