Aussie Bitcoin exchange owner accuses banks of discrimination

Allan Flynn, a Bitcoin trader in Australia has filed a complaint against two commercial banks in the country — ANZ and Westpac — accusing both of systematic discrimination. According to a report by the Australian Financial Review, Flynn is seeking compensation to the tune of 250,000 Australian dollars (about $192,000).

According to Flynn, he has been the victim of discriminatory practices with banks allegedly continuing to shut down his accounts. Speaking to AFR, Flynn lamented that no fewer than 20 banks have closed accounts operated by his exchange in the last three years, adding:

“How am I supposed to run a lawful business if I can’t get a bank account?”

For Flynn, the reported account closures come despite the fact that his crypto exchange service is registered with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, or AUSTRAC. Flynn’s platform reportedly services over 450 customers.

Back in 2020, Flynn lodged a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. However, AFCA ruled that Westpac — one of the banks involved in the matter ­— acted per its laid down terms and conditions.

At the time, Westpac offered Flynn 250 Australian dollars as restitution for the sudden account closure which the complainant says he is yet to receive. Flynn also says that Westpac has previously attributed his account closures to ongoing cryptocurrency fraud investigations. ANZ for its part says it does not offer banking services to cryptocurrency brokers.

Flynn’s fresh complaint which is before the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal will reportedly commence in March.

ANZ and Westpac did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. 

Exchanges accusing banks of discriminatory practices is not restricted to Australia alone. In March 2020, India’s Supreme Court reversed the central bank’s ban against banks servicing crypto businesses. However, reports still emerged of “crypto-phobic” behavior among Indian banks even after the Supreme Court’s decision.

A similar situation also exists across Latin America where commercial banks continue to intensify account closures targeted at crypto exchanges. In Brazil, two major platforms were also forced to shut down their operations following stringent tax compliance policies.

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