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New Charges for Binance As Executive Flees Nigeria

More crypto turmoil out of Nigeria today, with new charges of tax evasion filed against Binance, just days after one of their two detained executives somehow managed to escape custody.

Binance Nigeria Nadeem Anjerwalla Tigran Gambaryan

Today, the Nigerian Federal Government released details on the latest charges against Binance, accusing the company of “non-payment of value-added-tax and company income tax, failure to file tax returns, and complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform” it said in an emailed statement.

 The news comes after another dramatic turn of events; one of the two Binance executives already detained in Nigeria has escaped custody, according to reports.  Almost a month after his arrest, Nadeem Anjerwalla, allegedly fled while en route from the Abuja guesthouse where he was being detained, to a nearby mosque for prayers during the ongoing Ramadan fast.

 The world's largest cryptocurrency platform, Binance, has been embroiled in a dispute with the West African country since a nationwide crack-down on crypto exchanges. The government has blamed companies such as Binance for fueling demand for U.S. dollars on the black market, contributing to a fall in the value of the naira over the last year. Earlier this month, the government demanded the release of all transactions for Nigerian Binance users.

The two executives, Anjarwalla, Binance's Kenya-based regional manager for Africa, and his colleague Tigran Gambaryan, were sent to try to form a dialogue with legislators but were quickly detained by the Nigerian authorities on February 26th.

Although it appeared unclear how Mr Anjarwalla managed to board an international flight when the Nigerian authorities had custody of his passport, there are new reports among security services which suggest he might have had some local help.

In a statement released this afternoon, the Head of Strategic Communication, ONSA, Zakari Mijinyawa, said that early investigations showed that the 38-year-old Kenyan/British national fled using a smuggled passport, adding that security services were working with Interpol to get an international arrest warrant for the suspect.

And that local help? Mijinyawa revealed that the people responsible for his detention have now been arrested and a thorough investigation is underway.

This afternoon, a Binance spokesperson told CNBC “We were made aware that Nadeem is no longer in Nigerian custody. Our primary focus remains on the safety of our employees, and we are working collaboratively with Nigerian authorities to quickly resolve this issue.”

As Binance stopped all transactions and trading in Nigeria's local currency this month, we continue to Observe the Nigerian government and its crypto crackdown.