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Binance has been actively cooperating with Nigerian authorities following the detention of its head of financial crime compliance, Tigran Gambaryan, who is accused of laundering over $35 million. The case has been adjourned until May 2 and is being handled by Nigeria’s anti-corruption body. Binance CEO, Richard Teng, stated during the Token2049 crypto conference in Dubai that they are working closely with Nigerian authorities to resolve the matter. Another executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, fled Nigeria last month after being detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In addition to the EFCC case, Nigeria’s tax agency, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has charged Binance and the executives with tax evasion. The charges include tax evasion, currency speculation, and money laundering totaling $35.4 million. Court documents reveal that charges were filed against Binance Holdings Limited, Tigran Gambaryan, and Nadeem Anjarwalla on March 28, 2024, before the Federal High Court of Nigeria in Abuja. Another four-count charge was filed against Binance Holdings Limited, Anjarwalla, and Gambaryan on March 22, accusing them of offering services without proper registration and tax payments.

Binance recently announced that it has obtained a license from Dubai’s regulator, VARA, allowing the platform to cater to retail, qualified, and institutional clients. The licensing process involved Binance’s founder, Changpeng Zhao, relinquishing voting control of the Dubai unit. However, CEO Richard Teng dismissed reports of this as speculation, stating that the company does not comment on media speculation and maintains confidential relationships with regulators. The European Union’s securities watchdog highlighted that crypto exchanges often operate outside national legal frameworks and mentioned Binance’s lack of a headquarters. Teng revealed that Binance is considering potential locations for a global headquarters but did not provide specifics or a timeline for a decision.

Binance’s head of regional markets, Vishal Sacheendran, emphasized that the detentions of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were isolated incidents and unprecedented for the company. He declined to comment on charges against Binance itself. The charges include engaging in specialized financial business without a valid license, conducting business as a financial institution without authorization, unlawful negotiation of foreign exchange rates, conspiracy to conceal the origin of illicit funds, and money laundering. Binance has committed to working with Nigerian authorities to address the issues and resolve the matter surrounding the detainment of its executives.

The detention of Binance executives in Nigeria followed their arrival in the country after it enforced a ban on several cryptocurrency trading websites. Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained by the EFCC on February 26, with Anjarwalla subsequently fleeing Nigeria. The charges against Binance Holdings Limited and its executives stem from the allegations of tax evasion, currency speculation, and money laundering, amounting to $35.4 million. Binance’s cooperation with Nigerian authorities and its recent licensing in Dubai suggest a commitment to regulatory compliance and expanding its services in different regions, despite the ongoing legal challenges the company faces. The future actions of Binance and the outcomes of the legal cases will be closely monitored by the cryptocurrency community and regulatory authorities.

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