UniCredit, an Italian bank giant, has been fined $144 million after it allegedly closed accounts belonging to a cryptocurrency mining firm.
UniCredit for Hot Water
In Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Banja Luka district court, UniCredit’s country office will pay EUR131 million ($144 millions) in damages in response to a lawsuit brought by Bitminer Factory, a subsidiary of crypto mining company Bitminer Factory. La Repubblica, a local news outlet, first reported the story.
Bitminer Factory’s affiliate accused UniCredit for wrongfully closing its current accounts in Banja Luka branch of the bank. The closure, according to the crypto mining company, “prevented” the Initial Coin Offering (ICO), associated with startup projects within the cryptocurrency mining sector using renewable energie in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Due to the low energy tariff in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the firm opened UniCredit bank accounts. The bank had previously allowed them to withdraw the profits from the sale crypto to their accounts. However, UniCredit’s subsidiary stopped allowing them to do so, stating it couldn’t service suppliers and businesses that use cryptocurrency.
The court ruled that the bank couldn’t provide evidence of written rules which would have prevented it from entering into a business relationship to crypto-based companies.
UniCredit appears dissatisfied by the decision and has reportedly appealed it. According to UniCredit, the sentence is “not definitive, binding, or enforceable.”
“Possible Liability will only be determined by the final outcome of all procedural remedies, and not before the filing a definitive sentence by the appeals Court.”
Major banks open up to crypto
After a tweet response, the Italian banking giant Attia received backlash from customers and the cryptocurrency community in January. UniCredit stated:
“Hello, it is prohibited for the Group to have relations with any counterparty that issues virtual currencies or acts as exchange platforms.
There have been many instances where banks refused to service crypto-holders’ accounts. In 2021, the European bank giant HSBC stopped transactions on digital asset exchanges in Britain.
There are however other banks that have shifted from an anti-crypto policy and now offer support.
CryptoPotato reported that Australia’s biggest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), announced that it would offer more cryptocurrency services to its clients.
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