Detained Binance Exec Pleads Not Guilty to Money Laundering Charges in Nigeria: Reports

Tigran Gambaryan was remanded pending trial, reports say.

AccessTimeIconApr 8, 2024 at 1:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 8, 2024 at 1:46 p.m. UTC
  • Binance's head of financial crime compliance Tigran Gambaryan reportedly pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges in a Nigerian high court on Monday before he was remanded pending trial.
  • Despite Binance saying Gambaryan had no decision-making power at the company, presiding judge for the case reportedly ruled he can be considered a representative of the company under Nigerian law.

Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan, who was detained by Nigerian authorities in February alongside a colleague, pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges at a high court on Monday, local outlets reported.

Gambaryan was remanded until trial, according to reports, while bail can be requested until April 18.

The head of Binance's financial crime compliance was detained in the country along with another executive at the company, Nadeem Anjarwalla, back in February amid accusations by Nigeria's government that Binance had helped process illegal funds worth billions of dollars and that it had manipulated the exchange rate for the Nigerian naira.

In March, Anjarwalla escaped custody and, since then, the two executives have filed suit against the Nigerian government accusing it of violating human rights.

Nigeria's Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has accused Binance, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla of tax evasion, while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused the same parties of laundering money.

Justice Emeka Nwite reportedly argued that Gambaryan and Anjarwalla had in the past engaged with officials in the country regarding the crypto exchange's operations, and therefore could pass as representatives of the firm.

Gambaryan reportedly pleaded not guilty to five counts including one alleging that he, Anjarwalla and Binance used the crypto exchange to "unlawfully negotiate foreign exchange rates in Nigeria and you thereby committed an offense contrary to and punishable under section 29(1) (C) of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring And Miscellaneous Provisions) Act."

CoinDesk has reached out to Binance and Nigeria's Federal High Court for comment.

Edited by Sandali Handagama.


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Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.

Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.