At last, EFCC begins trial of Binance executive


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned an executive of Binance Holdings Limited, Tigran Gambaryan, on alleged money laundering charges.

That was after the high court threw out his objection to his trial.

Gambaryan is facing a five-count charge before Justice Emeka Nwite.

He was arraigned alongside the company and Nadeem Anjarwalla, now at large.

It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency had filed a money laundering charge against Binance, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

Anjarwalla was said to have fled Nigeria after his escape from lawful custody on March 22, 2024.

In the five-count charge dated and filed on March 28 by the anti-graft commission, the trio is being accused of money laundering to the tune of $35,400,000.

Gambaryan, however, pleaded not guilty to the counts, while a non-guilty plea was also entered for Binance.

The arraignment followed the earlier dismissal of Gambaryan’s preliminary objection by Justice Nwite.

BAR & BENCH WATCH reports that the judge had on Thursday fixed today for the ruling on the Binance official’s objection raised by his lawyer, Mark Mordi (SAN).

Mordi had disagreed with the application of the EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, for the charge to be read to Gambaryan.

He argued that Binance, listed as 1st defendant, ought to have been duly served before Gambaryan could take his plea.

The senior lawyer insisted that since it was a joint charge, the company must be served before his client could be arraigned.

He said his client was not a representative of the cryptocurrency firm in Nigeria.

But Iheanacho disagreed with Mordi, saying since Gambaryan represented Binance in Nigeria and that it is the law, he can be served on behalf of the firm.

According to him, if the company does not show up, a non-guilty plea can be entered for it in accordance with Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

He added that Gambaryan’s statement attached to the proof of evidence showed that he is an official of Binance in the country

Delivering the ruling on Monday, Justice Nwite agreed with Iheanacho’s submission.

The judge held that from Gambaryan’s affidavit attached to his bail application, the American citizen categorically averred that he was representing Binance in Nigeria.

The judge consequently dismissed the preliminary objection and ordered him to enter his plea.

While Justice Nwite adjourned his bail application until April 18, he fixed May 2 for trial.

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