Bitcoin-24, the largest bitcoin exchange in Europe, has been offline for the last two weeks after its Polish and German bank accounts were closed.
Simon Hausdorf, the owner of the exchange, is currently awaiting legal action from the German prosecutor’s office, which has said he is suspected of fraud in connection with bitcoin sales via Bitcoin-24.
The exchange’s customers began complaining earlier in the month, after the site began refusing withdrawals.
“Our Service is momentarily not available,” the website stated.
On April 12, one customer posted a threat of legal action against Hausdorf.
Eventually, posting under his username TAIS46 on the popular Reddit site, Hausdorf blamed the problem on German and Polish banks. He complained they were alarmed by fraudulent transactions sent to his exchange after criminals hacked his customers’ accounts via phishing attacks.
“The Germans think, I am a criminal guy and they will stop the crime. They asked the poland for help (sic) and they closed my bank account in Poland,” Hausdorf stated in his post, adding that he hoped to get his bank account back within the week.
Exactly one week after that, a letter was posted on Bitcoin-24’s website from German legal firm Röhl, Dehm & Partner (which did not respond to CoinDesk’s emails): “We expect that this situation will be a temporary one,” the firm stated in the letters, adding that customers’ bitcoins were safe, but inaccessible.
Four days later, on April 26, the law firm issued another letter: “We expect that all clients will get limited access to their accounts as fast as possible under bitcoin-24.com, so they can transfer the bitcoins and get general information about their account,” it stated.
As of April 28, it was possible to withdraw bitcoins from Bitcoin-24, according to an update on the site. It also noted, “All withdrawals will be done manually within 24 Hours.”
The Bitcoin-24 update page features links to the law firm’s documents regarding the matter. Interested parties must search for “bitcoin sicherungsmaßnahmen” on the site, as permanent links are not available.
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