• Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan collapsed during his trial in a Nigerian court for alleged money laundering and foreign exchange violations.
  • The incident occurred after Gambaryan’s defense lawyer informed the court of his client’s poor health, following earlier legal disputes involving tax evasion charges and allegations of influencing foreign exchange rates.

In a dramatic turn of events, Tigran Gambaryan, a high-ranking executive at Binance, collapsed in a Nigerian court during his trial for alleged money laundering and foreign exchange violations. The incident occurred during proceedings at the Federal High Court in Abuja, where Gambaryan is facing charges brought by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Gambaryan, who had previously missed a court appearance due to separate tax evasion charges, was assisted to the dock by his defense lawyer after failing to respond when his case was called. He later collapsed and required immediate medical attention, prompting an adjournment to accommodate his health issues.

According to Gambaryan’s legal representative, Mark Mordi, his client had been unwell since the previous trial date and had submitted a written application to inform the court of his condition. Despite this, the judge had denied Gambaryan’s earlier request for bail, citing concerns over flight risk.

The case against Gambaryan stems from accusations by Nigerian authorities that Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and its executives evaded taxes and facilitated illegal foreign exchange operations. The Nigerian government alleges that Binance manipulated foreign exchange rates, prompting stricter regulatory oversight of cryptocurrency platforms.

Earlier this year, the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had filed tax evasion charges against Binance and Gambaryan, accusing them of failing to register with the FIRS, pay company income tax, and value-added tax. The situation escalated when Binance announced the cessation of Nigerian naira transactions and delisted all Nigeria naira trading pairs on its platform.

In a statement, Binance CEO Richard Teng accused Nigerian officials of attempting to coerce the company into a secret settlement paid in cryptocurrency during meetings in early 2024, adding further complexity to the legal dispute.

The unfolding drama in Nigeria reflects a broader international scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges and their compliance with financial regulations. The case highlights the clash between regulatory authorities and digital currency platforms operating across borders, raising questions about the future of cryptocurrency regulation globally.

The adjournment of Gambaryan’s trial to June for cross-examination underscores the uncertainty surrounding his legal future and the impact on Binance’s operations in Nigeria. As the case continues to unfold, stakeholders are closely watching the outcome, which could set precedents for the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges in Nigeria and beyond.

Regulatory Battles in the Crypto Age

The collapse of Tigran Gambaryan during his trial in Nigeria underscores the regulatory challenges faced by cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide.

By vivian

Vivian Njoroge is a seasoned crypto and blockchain news writer with a passion for decoding the complexities of the digital financial world. Armed with a keen eye for emerging trends and a knack for simplifying intricate concepts, Vivian brings a unique blend of expertise and enthusiasm to her writing. Her articles, characterized by clarity and depth, aim to keep readers abreast of the ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.