Court Backs Nordea Bank Bid to Block Staff From Trading Crypto

Nordea Bank has won a court battle in Denmark over its bid to bar employees from buying and selling cryptocurrencies outside of work.

Dec 3, 2019 at 2:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:45 a.m. UTC

Nordea Bank has won a court battle over its bid to bar employees from buying and selling cryptocurrencies outside of work.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that a Danish court had ruled that the northern European bank is justified in the ban due to the risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

The case was brought against Nordea by a financial industry union in Denmark, claiming a crypto ban would interfere with the personal lives of staff.

“We filed suit because of the principle that everyone obviously has a private life and the right to act as a private individual,” union chairman Kent Petersen said in a statement. “It was important for us and our members to establish what rights managers have. In this case, it was more far-reaching than what we find to be appropriate.”

Expressing concerns over harm to the reputation of the bank and its clients, Nordea had warned its employees in early 2018 against crypto trading because “the risks were too high.” The bank cited a lack of regulation and connections to criminal activity such as money laundering to back up its case, Bloomberg writes.

Staff would still be allowed to invest in financial instruments tied to cryptocurrencies and were not prohibited from holding cryptos purchased before the ban.

Some commentators are pointing out on crypto Twitter that the staff ban is perhaps ironic, as Nordea itself has been accused of money laundering.

Reuters reported in March that Finnish broadcaster Yle said leaked documents showed the financial group had allegedly handled €700 million euros ($775 million) in suspicious transactions between 2005 and 2017 that were linked to Russia. In its defense, the bank said it had reported suspicious behavior to relevant authorities.

Then, in June, the bank's offices were searched by the Danish state prosecutor as part of a criminal investigation into money laundering.

Sweden's financial watchdog also warned the firm in 2018 over deficiencies in how it followed anti-money laundering rules, according to another Bloomberg piece at the time.

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