Business

Steve Kaaru

Israeli Supreme Court rules bank can’t deny access to crypto exchange

The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a local cryptocurrency exchange in a dispute with its banking services provider. Bits of Gold, an Israeli crypto exchange, has been locked in a legal battle with Bank Leumi, a local bank, for a few months now. The bank had denied service to the exchange, claiming that it was a gambling venture and, under Israeli law, banks shouldn’t deal with gambling firms.

According to a report by Israeli financial news outlet Finance Magnates, the court ruled that the exchange should continue using its account with Bank Leumi.

The decision was met with praise by Bits of Gold. Its CEO, Yuval Roash stated:

 “This is an exciting moment for us as a company and for the [cryptocurrency] community in general. We worked hard to set up a company which met regulatory requirements, in a new industry, and those efforts paid off. I am proud to be a part of this flourishing industry and push it towards the right regulation.”

Bank Leumi continued to object to the decision, but it’ll have to heed the court’s decision in the meantime and offer its services to the exchange. The decision by the court will also have a great ripple effect in the budding Israeli crypto scene. It implies that other crypto related ventures have the right to access basic financial services, a privilege that many crypto businesses have been denied by banks and other financial institutions.

This isn’t the first time that the two firms have been in court. In February 2018, the two appeared before the Supreme Court, with Bits of Gold claiming that Bank Leumi had unlawfully blocked its account. The bank had accused the exchange of being a gambling services provider and therefore believed it was within its rights to block its accounts.

And just like it has done now, the court ruled in favor of Bits of Gold. The presiding judge, Anat Baron, sought to make it clear that the court didn’t intend to get in the way of the bank’s normal anti-money laundering procedures. He stated:

“This court order is not intended to harm the bank’s rights to analyze with specificity every transaction that takes place with the bank account or to take any actions that are related to minimizing risks, which become transparent through the activities of the company.”

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