Nigerian court postpones money laundering trial of Binance and execs

The trial of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive detained in Nigeria since February, has reportedly been postponed until May 17 after another delay in court.

According to a May 2 Reuters report, lawyers representing Binance said they had not received documents necessary to move forward with a money laundering case involving the firm, Gambaryan, and regional manager Nadeem Anjarwalla. The trial was expected to begin on May 2, but a judge reportedly adjourned proceedings until May 17 to allow the legal team to review the documents.

The trial is separate from tax evasion charges brought against Binance, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. All parties have pleaded not guilty in the money laundering case. A bail hearing for Gambaryan is scheduled for May 17.

Anjarwalla and Gambaryan traveled to Nigeria in February to address claims that Binance manipulated the country’s fiat currency, the naira. Authorities detained and charged both men with tax evasion and money laundering, but Anjarwalla reportedly escaped custody and fled to Kenya, where he holds nationality in addition to the United Kingdom. Interpol reported on April 30 that extradition proceedings for Anjarwalla were moving forward.

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Many have criticized the Nigerian government’s charges as lacking merit. Authorities in the country detained both executives as Binance announced that it intended to cease all naira transactions, calling into question the timing of the arrests. Binance said Gambaryan had “no decision-making power” at the crypto firm.

In a separate criminal case in the United States, a judge sentenced former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao to four months in prison on April 30 following his guilty plea for failing to maintain an Anti-Money Laundering program. Zhao is expected to report to a facility in Oregon or Washington at a date to be determined.

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