Home Court Court denies Binance executive, Gambaryan bail

Court denies Binance executive, Gambaryan bail

6 min read

A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, denied the bail application of a crypto currency firm executive, Tigran Gambaryan.

Justice Emeka Nwite held that the bail application is refused as Gambaryan, an executive of Binance Holdings Limited has carefully gone through the application submitted before him and resolved that the defendant is likely to jump bail if granted.

Gambaryan, his company, Binance Holdings Limited, and a fellow top executive currently on the run, Nadeem Anjarwalla, were charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with money laundering and terrorism financing.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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.

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”, Iheanacho argued.

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.

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 $26 billion was channelled through Binance without a trace.

CBN governor, Dr. Yemi Cardoso said: “In the last year, 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 National Security Adviser, Mallam 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.

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