Tax Evasion: FG Drags Binance To Court


BY EDMOND ODOK – The Federal Government has initiated criminal proceedings against Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform, over allegations of tax evasion in the country.

Announcing the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said it is a decisive move meant to uphold fiscal responsibility and safeguard the economic integrity of the country.

Confirming the development in a statement, Special Adviser on Media to the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Dare Adekanmbi said; “The lawsuit, designated as suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, implicates Binance with a four-count tax evasion accusation.”

The statement said joined in the suit with the crypto company as second and third defendants 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.”

According to Adekanmbi; “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”, adding that “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.”

Furthermore, the statement said; “Section 40 of the Act explicitly addresses the non-deduction and non-remittance of taxes, prescribing penalties and potential imprisonment for defaulting entities”.

Also, the charges highlighted. 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.

Offering additional insight on the case against Binance, Adekanmbi said; “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”.

The statement said the Federal Government remains resolute in its commitment to ensuring compliance with tax regulations and combating financial impropriety within the cryptocurrency sector.

By the law setting it up and various other extant rules, FIRS is “empowered to assess, collect and account for revenue accruing to the Federation and administer relevant tax laws.”

It is on record that in late 2023, Binance pleaded guilty to flouting anti-money laundering laws in the United States and consequently settled for a plea bargain to the tune of $4.3 billion.

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