The head of payments policy and regulation at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olubukola Akinwunmi, said that the largest crypto exchange Binance provided banking services to Nigerians without the regulator’s permission.

According to local media, Olubukola Akinwunmi testified before the Federal High Court of Nigeria in Abuja. He claims that Binance’s website misled Nigerians who used the platform to conduct transactions in Nigerian naira. The platform promoted free deposits and withdrawals with a fixed fee, which are activities carried out by licensed banks and financial institutions that are supervised by the central bank.

Akinwunmi said Binance also handled the conversion of naira into US dollars, which requires CBN approval to operate as an authorized dealer or currency exchanger. The official added that Binance traders often use pseudonyms, which is contrary to Nigerian law that requires the user’s identity to be disclosed when conducting financial transactions.

In his testimony, Akinwunmi detailed the process of a P2P transaction on Binance, where the buyer transfers naira to the seller’s bank account and confirms the transaction on the platform, while Binance provides the cryptocurrency or fiat currency. The CBN executive insists that this service must be regulated, so Binance cannot provide it without a license.

Following Akinwunmi’s testimony, Judge Emeka Nwite adjourned until July 16 to cross-examine the defense. Nwite also ordered the Nigerian Correctional Service to provide a medical report on Binance’s head of financial crimes, Tigran Gambaryan. He is in a Nigerian prison on charges of conspiracy to launder cryptocurrency money and tax evasion. U.S. lawmakers are calling for his release due to his poor health.

In June, Nigeria’s Information Minister Mohammed Idris clarified that Binance’s activities were devaluing the Nigerian naira and fueling currency speculation, exacerbating the country’s crisis.