FG Files Tax Evasion Charges Against Binance

...as detained executive escapes from DSS custody

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The Federal Government has filed tax evasion charges against Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform.

 Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), while announcing on Monday that it has filed the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, noted that the lawsuit designated as suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, implicates Binance with a four-count tax evasion accusation.

Joined with the crypto company as second and third defendants in the suit are Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, both senior executives of Binance currently under the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

However, news broke over the weekend that Nadeem Anjarwalla has escaped from custody and fled the country.

The charges levied against Binance according to FIRS, include non-payment of Value-Added Tax (VAT), Company Income Tax, failure to file tax returns, and complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform.

In the suit, the Federal Government also accused Binance of failure to register with FIRS for tax purposes and contravening existing tax regulations within the country.

A statement from FIRS on Monday, said One of the counts in the lawsuit pertains to Binance’s alleged failure to collect and remit various categories of taxes to the federation as stipulated by Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 as amended.

Section 40 of the Act explicitly addresses the non-deduction and non-remittance of taxes, prescribing penalties and potential imprisonment for defaulting entities.

The charges further detail specific instances where Binance purportedly violated tax laws, such as failing to issue invoices for VAT purposes, thus obstructing the determination and payment of taxes by subscribers.

“Any company that transacts business in excess of N25 million annually is deemed by the Finance Act to be present in Nigeria,” the statement said.

“According to this rule, Binance falls into that category. So, it has to pay taxes like Company Income Tax (CIT) and also collect and pay Value Added Tax (VAT).

“But Binance did not do this properly. So, the company broke Nigerian laws and could be investigated and taken to court for this infraction.”

It said the Federal Government remains resolute in its commitment to ensuring compliance with tax regulations and combating financial impropriety within the cryptocurrency sector.

FIRS, by the law setting it up and various others, is empowered to assess, collect and account for revenue accruing to the Federation and administer relevant tax laws.

Binance pleaded guilty to flouting anti-money laundering laws in the United States in late 2023, settling for a plea bargain that cost the company $4.3 billion.

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