Norwegian Court Backs Nordea Bank to Close Account Of Crypto Exchange
In recent crypto developments, a district court form Norway ruled in support of the largest bank of Norway, Nordea bank, against a domestic crypto exchange. The court has given full power to the bank to close the account of any crypto exchange which will minimize the risk of money laundering and illegal activities abundant on the Bitcoin platform.
According to E24, in Norway, Oslo District Court is also known as Oslo tingrett and has ended its jurisdiction against Bitmynt AS, a local bitcoin exchange. The verdict of Oslo tingrett reads, “after a global assessment, [there is] no doubt that the risk of money laundering and transactions related to criminal offenses is clearly elevated by bitcoin trade. The court finds it clear that this risk constitutes an objective reason for the bank to deny customer relationships under the Financial Contracts Act §21.”
As per the official website of Nordea, not only it is the largest financial institution operating in the Nordic region, but also among the biggest banks of Europe. The bank conducts its business in a total of 17 countries and its overall operating income is EUR 9.5 billion (~US$11.33 billion) with total assets ranging at EUR 581.6 billion (~$693.53 billion) in 2017.
In repose to court’s decision, Sturle Sunde, Bitmynt founder, informed in a recent statement that his exchange lost the case even after following the Money Laundering Act and was not a suspect in any criminal activity. Sunde is “disappointed with the result, saying the sentence goes a long way in limiting more than just his own business.” He seemed frustrated with the court’s decision stating that the court has literally put a ban on bitcoin trading.
Dn, a Norwegian publication, described the situation by informing that Nordea Bank initiated the fight with Sunde and Bitmynt last year. The bank closed Bitmynt’s account in the autumn if 2017 citing risks of money laundering and terrorist funding. Nordea earlier stated that on an average it was managing 1,400 transactions every month in this account, and all of them belonged to the purchase and sale of bitcoin.
Sunde sued the bank for its actions, but the Oslo District Court is assured that the bank has all the rights to cease its accounts and prohibit it from gaining any services in future. The news outlet elaborated that the bank is obliged to terminate any account that involves any risk of assisting criminal activities.
Moreover, E24 told that “the court considers that the way Sunde conducts Bitmynt trading prevents Nordea from fulfilling its obligations regarding customer control and ongoing follow-ups under the Money Laundering Act.” Sunde still has some gas left in the tank as he will be challenging court’s decision as he believes that the judge was not able to understand the matter completely.
With the current decision, the European jurisdiction does not seem pretty friendly with digital currencies. Although neighboring countries like Switzerland are using the technology for optimal growth yet, Norway has not cleared its mind on its outlook towards cyber coins.