Court Adjourns Hearing on Binance Executive’s Bail Application

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Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 adjourned hearing on the bail application of Binance Holdings Limited and its executive, Tigran Gambaryan till May 17, 2024.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is prosecuting Gambaryan alongside Binance Holdings Ltd and Nadeem Anjarwalla, (currently at large) on five-count charges bordering on alleged tax evasion, currency speculation and money laundering to tune of $34,400,000 (Thirty-Four Million, Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).

The court had on Thursday, April 18, 2024 adjourned trial till Tuesday for prosecution counsel, Mr Ekele Eheanacho to respond to a bail application filed by the defence counsel, Mark Mordi (SAN).

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Mordi argued that the court had the power to grant bail to the defendant and impose conditions to ensure his presence in court.

“My lord, we have an application filed on April 4, 2024, supported by a 17-paragraph affidavit. We rely on all depositions found in the affidavit. There are four reasons why my lord should grant us bail. Pursuant to Section 157 and 52 of ACJA, my Lord has the power to grant bail. It is not a capital offence or felony,” Mordi said.

However, Eheanacho opposed the bail application, stating that the defendant is a flight risk. “The defendant attempted to obtain a new passport, which he claimed was stolen, and this was a suspicious act given the proximity to his colleague’s escape from custody. We cannot risk granting him bail, especially since he is not attached to any community in Nigeria,” he said.

Arguing further, Iheanacho stated that “the fact that the passport of the defendant is with the complainant does not guarantee that he will remain in Nigeria, because the defendant is not only an American citizen but also an Armenian citizen by birth. We are urging the honourable court to refuse the application and instead remand him in EFCC custody to ensure his safety and prevent potential flight risk.”

In response to this, Mordi argued that the defendant posed no flight risk and that the prosecution was not certain that the defendant has an Armenian passport, adding that “Moreover, there is no Armenian Embassy in Nigeria that issues or prints passports.”

After listening to the submissions, the court adjourned the matter till May 17, 2024, for ruling on the bail application.