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FG files criminal charges against Binance

The Federal Government has initiated criminal proceedings against Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform over alleged tax evasion.

The charges, filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, were announced on Monday by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.

The lawsuit, designated as suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, implicates Binance with a four-count tax evasion accusation.

FIRS, in a statement issued and made available to newsmen on Monday by Dare Adekanmbi, Special Adviser, Media to the Executive Chairman of the service, said the move was aimed at upholding fiscal responsibility and safeguarding the economic integrity of Nigeria.

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.

The charges levied against Binance 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 FG also accused Binance of failure to register with FIRS for tax purposes and contravening existing tax regulations within the country.

According to the statement, 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 detailed 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.

“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,” Adekanmbi said.

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