An Australian bitcoin trader has filed a lawsuit against two of the country’s biggest commercial banks, accusing them of systematic discrimination when they closed his accounts on short notice.
Allan Flynn is demanding compensation of AU$250,000 ($193,000) from ANZ and Westpac banks for closing his accounts immediately after they had been opened, the Australian Financial Review reported on Jan. 18.
Flynn, who operates a registered bitcoin (BTC) exchange, has started proceedings against both banks at the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The trader alleges he is the victim of unlawful discrimination, with no less than 20 banks closing his accounts in the past three years.
How am I supposed to run a lawful business if I can’t get a bank account? I am by no means alone or the first. I know of at least one other trader who has had accounts closed more than 60 times.
Flynn’s exchange is registered with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), he says, and has helped facilitate BTC trades for about 450 customers.
Westpac reportedly told Flynn that his account was closed because he was “under investigation for cryptocurrency fraud.” ANZ said it does not offer banking services to crypto brokers, issuers or exchanges. Per the report, Flynn claimed an ANZ worker had informed other banks and his clients that he was involved in fraud.
Crypto exchange operators have had a tough time opening and maintaining accounts with traditional banking institutions. Earlier this month, Chile’s Free Competition Defense Court ruled that Banco Itaú and Banco Estado, two major banks in the country, must reopen the checking accounts of crypto exchange Buda.
The accounts were closed in 2018 after they were wrongly implicated in a scam run by Terra Finance.
What do you think about banks denying crypto exchanges banking services? Let us know in the comments section below.