Australian Bitcoin Trader Takes Banks to Tribunal After Sudden Account Closures

The trader was operating a registered digital currency exchange.

Jan 18, 2021 at 12:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:57 a.m. UTC

A cryptocurrency trader in Australia is seeking $250,000 AUD (US$192,000) in compensation from two banks, claiming he was the victim of unlawful discrimination when his accounts were closed with little warning.

  • Allan Flynn has started proceedings against Westpac and ANZ banks at the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which closed his accounts soon after they had been opened, reports the Australian Financial Review.
  • Flynn had operated a digital currency exchange registered with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), but said he was unable to continue operating without banking services.
  • The trader said he purchased bitcoin on behalf of 450 customers via his business, but over three years had around 20 accounts closed by banks, including CBA, NAB, ING and Bendigo Bank.
  • Westpac reportedly told Flynn his account was closed because it was “under investigation for cryptocurrency fraud.”
  • “How am I supposed to run a lawful business if I can’t get a bank account?” Flynn told the Australian Financial Review.
  • According to the report, he also claimed an ANZ employee had informed other banks and his customers that he was involved in fraud.
  • The trader said he is considering raising his compensation request above $250,000 with the recent jump in the price of cryptocurrencies.
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