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Nigeria govt files tax evasion charges against Binance

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Nigeria’s Federal Government has filed tax evasion charges against Binance, beginning criminal proceedings against the leading cryptocurrency exchange platform whose employees it has held since February.

The charges were filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the Special Adviser (Media) to the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Dare Adekanbi, revealed Monday.

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

Joining 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 Federal Government also accused Binance of failure to register with FIRS for tax purposes and contravening existing tax regulations within the country.

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.

He added that the Federal Government remained resolute in its commitment to ensuring compliance with tax regulations and combating financial impropriety within the cryptocurrency sector.

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