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Binance Executive Collapses in Abuja Court During Money Laundering Trial

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‍Tigran Gambaryan, a detained Binance executive facing money laundering charges, collapsed in a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday during a trial over alleged ill-health.

The incident occurred shortly after the case was called to continue the trial before Justice Emeka Nwite. Gambaryan, seated at the back of the courtroom, did not step forward to the dock when the court registrar called his name. Justice Nwite inquired about Gambaryan’s whereabouts, prompting one of his defence lawyers to assist him. As they approached the dock, Gambaryan slumped, and the lawyer had to help him sit in the front row.

Mark Mordi, Gambaryan’s lawyer, explained to the court that his client had been unwell and a written application had been submitted to notify the court of his condition.

“My lord, the case may not certainly proceed today,” Mordi said.

Throughout the proceedings, Gambaryan appeared visibly weak, resting on the arm of his seat.

On May 16, Justice Nwite denied Gambaryan’s bail application, citing concerns raised by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he might flee if released, similar to the actions of co-defendant Nadeem Anjarwalla, who remains at large. Gambaryan is currently remanded at Kuje Correctional Centre.

The charges against Gambaryan, Anjarwalla, and Binance Holdings Limited include conspiring to conceal the proceeds they make from the country, which the Nigerian authorities allege were obtained through unlawful activities. The offences are said to have violated Section 21(a) and are punishable under Section 18(3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.

During the hearing, Mordi emphasised Gambaryan’s health issues and requested an adjournment to allow his client to receive medical attention. EFCC counsel Ekele Iheanacho did not oppose the adjournment. Consequently, the court rescheduled the trial for June 20 and 21 for cross-examination and further proceedings.

This case is one of two significant legal battles Binance and its executives currently face in Nigeria. The second involves the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which has filed a separate suit against Binance Holdings Limited and Gambaryan for alleged tax evasion.

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