The Australian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (ACCC) has decided that several banks did not violate any statutes in closing the accounts of several digital currency companies across the country.
The investigation was prompted when the Australian Financial Times published a scathing piece in September of last year, which claimed that seventeen bitcoin companies had received letters from their banks that stated that they would lose access to their accounts.
The investigation was requested by Labour Party Senator Sam Dastyari, who contact the ACCC.
According to a more recent article by FT, Rod Sims, Chairman of the of ACCC, said that the investigation concluded that banks dealt with bitcoin companies on an individual basis, and that financial institutions were within their legal rights to refuse to do business with companies that may be perceived as risky, “It appears that banks have individually decided to stop providing banking services to digital currency businesses in order to ensure their ability to meet their regulatory obligations and manage their risk,” said Sims.
Senator Sam Dastyari – who called for the inquiry – accused the ACCC of botching the investigation and said that the conclusions are “utterly astonishing”.
Dastyari claims that the ACCC’s version of events is radically different to what he has been told by various digital currency firms, who stated that they were systematically expelled from Australia’s financial system in a short period of time.
According to FT:
“Senator Dastyari said debanked bitcoin companies had claimed, independently of each other, that they were cut off in the space of a few weeks.”
The Senator also said that the ACCC didn’t even bother contacting the affected bitcoin firms in their investigation, and even suggested that the accused banks may have targeted specific individuals within the cryptocurrency space.
The Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association (ADCCA) advocates AML compliance to all its member firms. Ron Tucker, Chairman of the ADCCA, said that many bitcoin businesses are very strict with AML/KYC requirements because they don’t want to risk their business relationships with the banks.
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