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Nigeria’s EFCC Sues Binance, Partners FBI to Arrest Runaway Executive

Nigeria’s financial crime agency has sued Binance and two executives arrested in the country for money laundering charges. According to local media sources, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) slammed the exchange with a new lawsuit further deepening the regulatory saga. 

The EFCC has taken over the case from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and will prosecute both executives. This comes on the back of a previous lawsuit filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) bordering on tax evasion. 

Prosecutors Slam Binance with Five Charges 

Per the report, Binance and its two executives are sued for $35.4 million in money laundering charges and also obtained an arrest warrant for the escapee Nadeem Anjarwalla. The EFCC filed a total of five charges against the defendants. Specifically, prosecutors allege that the exchange operated without a valid license in breach of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act. 

“…within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court engaged in the business of other financial institution (other than insurance, stock broking and pension fund management) without a valid license and thereby committed an offense contrary to and punishable under section 58(5) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020.” 

Furthermore, the EFCC alleged that Binance used its virtual platform to negotiate foreign exchange rates in the country citing the Foreign Exchange Act. On money laundering charges, prosecutors claimed Binance and its executives conspired to conceal the proceeds of unlawful activities totaling $35,400,000. 

Efforts to Arrest Escaped Executive 

Nigerian authorities ramped up efforts to arrest Anjarwalla through a court order and partnerships with foreign agencies. The EFCC is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to arrest and extradite the Binance executive. 

Meanwhile, Binance confirmed that its executive is no longer in federal custody as the whole regulatory debacle continues. On March 28, Coingape reported moves by Tigran Gambaryan as he sued the NSA and EFCC for his unlawful detention after several weeks. He asked the court for his immediate release, the return of his passport, an injunction against further arrest, and a public apology. 

The cryptocurrency community also expressed concern about his continued detention asking authorities to reduce harsh regulatory practices towards the industry. 

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