Report: Nigerian government charges Binance over tax evasion

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

The Nigerian government has taken action against Binance over accusations of tax evasions within the country. 

According to a report from Nigerian news outlet Channels TV, the lawsuit states that Binance has been charged with four counts of tax evasion, which includes allegations of non-payment of value-added tax (VAT). 

Other allegations against the world’s largest crypto exchange involve failure to file tax returns, evasion of company income tax and aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform. 

Moreover, the Nigerian government is also accusing Binance of failing to register with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) – the agency responsible for collecting tax returns – and failing to report its tax statements to the agency which is in breach of regulations. 

The charges were filed to the Federal High Court in Abuja and were confirmed by FIRS today (25 March). 

A FIRS statement read: “Any company that conducts business exceeding 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 is obligated to pay taxes like Company Income Tax (CIT) and also collect and remit VAT. 

“However, Binance did not adhere to these requirements, thus violating Nigerian laws and potentially facing investigation and legal action for this infraction.”

Senior Executives of Binance’s Nigerian arm, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, are both reportedly being held in custody by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, with both also being named in the lawsuit. 

The Nigerian government and FIRS has affirmed it has a commitment to ensure compliance across both the financial and crypto payments landscape when it pertains to tax regulations and guidelines.

This latest development for Binance in Nigeria continues an ongoing battle within the African country for the crypto exchange. 

In the midst of the Nigerian Naira currency plummeting in valuation and inflation soaring, the government blocked crypto exchanges such as Binance as they believed crypto exchanges in the country were “blatantly setting exchange rates for Nigeria”, according to Bayo Onanuga, an advisor to President Bola Tinubu.

Despite these concerns, Binance assured its Nigerian user base that accessibility to its platform was still available. 

Also, in July 2023, the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission issued a warning to investors that Binance does not have regulatory clearance by them to operate in the country and is therefore illegal.