The Federal High Court in Nigeria has discharged Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) tax evasion case against Binance. 
This decision follows the appointment of Ayodele Omotilewa as Binance’s Nigerian representative, prompting the FIRS to file fresh charges listing only Binance as the defendant.
The court’s ruling came after Binance confirmed Omotilewa’s appointment, leading to the striking out of previous charges against Gambaryan, a 39-year-old American, and Anjarwalla, who had fled custody. 
The FIRS had initially brought charges against Binance in March 2024, alleging the company failed to collect and remit taxes, including Value Added Tax (VAT) and Company Income Tax (CIT).
During the latest court session, the FIRS presented an amended charge dated June 13, 2024, identifying Binance as the sole defendant. The new charge accuses Binance of aiding its users in evading taxes through its cryptocurrency trading platform. 
The FIRS’ legal counsel, Moses Idehu, requested that Omotilewa, as Binance’s representative, be required to enter the dock and take a plea on behalf of the company.
Binance’s legal team, led by Tonye Krukrubo SAN, opposed this request, arguing that Nigerian law does not require a company representative to physically stand in the dock. They asserted that a written statement could suffice for court proceedings. The defence’s argument led to the discharge of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla from the case.
Judge Emeka Nwite ruled that the previous charges filed on March 22 and May 17, 2024, were to be struck out, and the case was adjourned to July 12 for further proceedings. The judge also instructed both parties to submit written arguments regarding the necessity of Omotilewa’s presence in the dock.
The court’s decision marks a shift in the ongoing legal battle between Binance and the Nigerian authorities. The FIRS had accused Binance of failing to adhere to tax laws, with the cryptocurrency platform allegedly generating over $20 billion in Nigeria in 2023 without proper tax remittances. 
This case is part of the issue on cryptocurrency operations in Nigeria, which includes separate charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Binance and its executives for alleged money laundering and foreign exchange violations.
The Nigerian government has intensified its investigation of cryptocurrency platforms, pointing to their impact on foreign exchange rates and economic stability. This follows the Naira’s devaluation, losing 70% of its value against the dollar due to foreign exchange reforms.
With the legal proceedings continuing, Binance spokesperson Ivy Shirinda is disappointed over the ongoing detention of Tigran Gambaryan, noting his history of public service and asserting that the charges against him are baseless. Shirinda called for Gambaryan’s release as discussions between Binance and Nigerian officials progress.
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