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Court Denies Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan Bail

The executive and the company are facing charges bordering on money laundering.


Gambaryan was denied bail by the court for fear of jumping bail.

 

Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja, has refused to grant bail to an Executive of Binance Holdings Limited, Tigran Gambaryan.

Justice Nwite held that Gambaryan is likely to jump bail if bail is granted to him.

The company and its executive were arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering before Emeka Nwite, judge of a federal high court in Abuja.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

READ ALSO: Reps Refute Binance Bribery Claims, To Investigate Anjarwalla’s Escape From Custody

Moving an application, Counsel to the Defendant, Mark Mordi, argued that the court had the power to grant bail to the defendant and impose conditions to ensure his presence in court.

The Prosecution Counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, however opposed the bail application, stating that the defendant was a flight risk.

He stated that the defendant attempted to obtain a new passport which he claimed was stolen, and this was a suspicious act given the proximity to his colleague’s escape from custody.

He added that the court cannot risk granting him bail, especially since he is not attached to any community in Nigeria.

“The fact that the passport of the defendant is with the complainant does not guarantee that he will remain in Nigeria because the defendant is not only an American citizen but also an Armenian citizen by birth.

He urged the court to refuse the application and instead remand him in EFCC custody to ensure his safety and prevent potential flight risk.

Delivering ruling, the judge said several factors including the nature of offence and its severity must be considered when trying to decide whether or not bail should be granted to the defendant applicant.

Justice Nwite agreed with the depositions made by prosecution and was of the view that the applicant will jump bail if bail is granted to him.

He subsequently ordered that the trial be given an accelerated hearing.

After the ruling, the EFCC called its first witness, a staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Crackdown on Binance

Binance and its executives are facing a number of criminal charges in Nigeria after the Nigerian government recently cracked down on the cryptocurrency platform in a bid to strengthen the naira.

Among other charges filed by the current administration against Binance were tax evasion, currency speculation, and money laundering to the tune of $35,400,000.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had claimed that over $26bn was channelled through Binance without a trace.

“In the last year,” CBN governor Yemi Cardoso said, “more than $26 billion have been funnelled through Binance without trace”.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, the company’s other executive facing charges in Nigeria alongside Gambaryan, had in March, escaped from the custody of the NSA, Nuhu Ribadu, according to a statement by its spokesman, Zakari Mijinyawa.

Both are suspects in the Federal Government’s ongoing probe into Binance activities in Nigeria.

Until his escape, Anjarwalla, who is both a British and Kenyan citizen, served as Binance Africa’s Regional Manager, and was facing trial over allegations bordering on tax evasion.

He was traced to Kenya by the Nigerian government and has reportedly been arrested by Kenyan authorities.