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Court dismiss fundamental rights lawsuit by Binance exec Anjarwalla Nadeem

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Court dismissed the fundamental rights lawsuit filed by Binance exec Anjarwalla Nadeem. This follows his lawyer's withdrawal from the case

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Nadeem Anjarwalla, a senior executive at Binance, against Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). The dismissal was prompted by the absence of Anjarwalla’s legal team during the proceedings.

Anjarwalla had sought the court’s intervention, claiming his detention by Nigerian authorities was unlawful and requesting compensation for the emotional and financial distress inflicted on him and his family. 

The case took a significant turn when Anjarwalla’s legal representative, Tonye Krukrubo, withdrew without providing specific reasons. This withdrawal followed reports that Anjarwalla had fled the country post-detention, raising questions about his legal strategy and the potential implications of his absence.

Krukrubo’s formal submission of a “Notice of Withdrawal of Legal Representation” left Anjarwalla without legal counsel, a situation Justice Ekwo acknowledged, which led him to adjourn the case. He expected Anjarwalla to secure new legal representation to proceed with his claims quickly.

However, according to local media,  during the latest court session, neither Anjarwalla nor any legal representation appeared before Justice Ekwo.

The plaintiff and his counsel’s absence left the court with little choice but to issue an order to strike out the case, effectively dismissing Anjarwalla’s claims without a hearing on their merits.

Anjarwalla’s lawsuit aimed to challenge what he described as his wrongful detention, seeking a judicial declaration affirming the illegality of the EFCC and ONSA’s treatment of him. His detention had reportedly caused significant personal and professional disruption.

A few days ago, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) dropped tax evasion charges against the executives as part of an arrangement to name Binance through its local representative in the case.

This decision came just a week after more than a dozen US lawmakers sent a letter to the US President describing the charges as baseless and a coercion tactic to extort Binance. 

In the letter, the lawmakers asserted that Tigran was “wrongfully detained by a foreign government.” Although the tax charges have been set aside, the executives still face a money laundering charge from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The dismissal provides a reprieve from allegations of unlawful detention for the EFCC and the ONSA, though it does not preclude future legal challenges from Anjarwalla or others similarly situated. 

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