Israeli Bitcoin Company Sues Banks for Not Letting it Open Accounts
An Israeli company that was created in January has gotten its business rejected by all banks in the country, and is now suing them. Without a bank account, an Israeli exchange would not be able to legally receive fiat transfers from clients, effectively preventing it from starting operations.
Also Read: Israel Tax Authority: Bitcoin is Property, Not Currency
Bitflash LTD, a new Israeli company which was established to provide digital currency trading services based in Acre, has asked the Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday to order all 11 banks in the country to open a current account without credit for it. The company claims that the banks’ refusal to open an account for it is in violation of the law and shows lack of good faith, as some of them manage similar accounts for competing companies.
The lawsuit states that there is a concern that the banks have illegally incorporated as a cartel and unjustifiably prevent the opening of the account to the plaintiff, thus thwarting its activity and causing it ever increasing damages on every passing day it is unable to operate. Unfortunately for Bitflash, the court ruled last year that a bank can refuse to work with a bitcoin exchange in the case of Bits of Gold vs. Leumi. However, by focusing on the banks as a cartel instead of each individually the company might persuade the court that they should not have the collective power to prevent the growth of a new industry.
Banks All Say No
According to Bitflash, since its establishment over a month ago, it approached a number of branches of each Israeli banking corporation for the purpose of opening an account, but was outright refused on the grounds that its business in digital currencies is not to the liking of branch managers. In some of the branches the company was told explicitly that “the bank’s policy is not to open accounts for those who deal with digital currencies, regardless of the nature of the business.”
According to the plaintiff, through its attorney Alon Huberman, the company emphasized to the representatives of the banks that it has no need for credit, its account will be in perpetual positive credit balance, and that it needs only a current account that will allow the transfer of money from its clients inside Israel to its account. According to company, some of the banks justified the refusal by claiming that they would not be able to trace the source of the funds deposited in the company’s account, but even after it was made clear to them that the account would only be used to transfer funds from individuals and entities with a bank account at the same bank, removing this fear completely, they still refused.
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