Binance executive reportedly escapes detention as Nigeria files tax evasion charges

The NFT Unicorn 90cb33e9-0a29-4775-a671-95a049045e5c Binance executive reportedly escapes detention as Nigeria files tax evasion charges Crypto News

Update 9:00 am UTC: This article has been updated to include details of the tax evasion charges against Binance.

A Binance executive detained by the Nigerian authorities has reportedly escaped detention using a fake passport, according to reports in a local publication citing sources familiar with the matter.

The news comes as other reports claim the Nigerian government has launched criminal proceedings against the exchange for tax evasion. According to local media, the charges were filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.

Binance executive Nadeem Anjarwalla and his colleague Tigran Gambaryan have been detained in a guest house for several weeks in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. However, Anjarwalla reportedly fled detention on Friday, March 22, after he was taken to a nearby mosque for prayers.

Anjarwalla reportedly flew out of Abuja on a Middle East airline. However, it is unclear how he managed to board the international flight, as his British passport, with which he entered Nigeria, remains in the custody of the Nigerian authorities.

According to an immigration official, the Binance executive fled Nigeria on a Kenyan passport, and authorities are now trying to determine how Anjarwalla acquired the passport, as he had no other travel documents while in custody.

According to reports, the men were granted several privileges while in detention, including using cell phones.

Anjarwalla, the regional manager for Binance in Africa, and Gambaryan, a United States citizen who is the head of Binance’s criminal investigations team, were taken into custody upon their arrival in Nigeria on Feb. 26.

The men were detained after a magistrate court in Abuja received a criminal complaint against them.

Related: Binance says it trained investigators in Nigeria under government cooperation

The court allowed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to hold the two individuals for 14 days. It further mandated that Binance give the Nigerian government access to data and details of Nigerian traders using its platform.

However, after Binance refused to comply with the court decision, the court extended the detention of the officials for an additional 14 days to prevent the tampering of evidence.

The Nigerian government has taken strict measures against individuals and organizations involved with terrorist financing and money laundering linked to the Binance crypto exchange.

According to government reports, the Binance exchange has been used to launder nearly $21 billion.

Cointelegraph has reached out to Binance but has yet to receive a response.

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