The legal battle comes as the Aussie man allegedly suffered significant losses in his crypto business after the banks, Westpac and ANZ, shut down his accounts, local media reported Monday.
According to the proceedings filed at the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Allan Flynn alleged that the banks’ action was illegal as they closed his accounts without any prior warning or reason.
20 Accounts Closed In Three Years
Flynn owns an AUSTRAC-registered crypto exchange with about 450 customers. Using the platform, he helps his clients to purchase crypto assets like Bitcoin.
The Australian Financial Review revealed that the complainant has had about 20 of his accounts shut down in the last three years by more than five Australian banks, including CBA, NAB, ING, and Bendigo Bank, to mention a few.
Following the continued account closures, Flynn said he opened new accounts with Westpac and ANZ while informing the banks that the account was for crypto transactions. But both accounts were closed after almost a year of running them. He said he received a message from Westpac saying his account would be closed in five days. His effort to open another account with Westpac was not successful.
He requested to know why his account was closed and why he couldn’t open a new one, and the bank told him that he was “under investigation for cryptocurrency fraud.”
Flynn said Westpac offered him a compensation of AUD$250 for not providing “reasonable notice” before closing the account. However, he hasn’t “seen a cent of it either.”
Not The Only One
For one thing, cryptocurrencies and exchanges are legal in Australia, and there’s no law prohibiting banks from rendering services to crypto traders. However, Flynn noted that he is not the only victim of this unlawful discrimination.
“I am by no means alone or the first. I know of at least one other trader who has had accounts closed more than 60 times,” he said, adding that “how am I supposed to run a lawful business if I can’t get a bank account?”
According to the report, Flynn demands a total settlement of AUD$375,000 from the banks, with the hearing expected to take place in late March.
He is seeking AUD$250,000 for stress and inconvenience and AUD$125,000 for emotional distress and reputational damage. Aside from closing his accounts, Flynn alleged that an ANZ employee informed other banks and his clients that he was fraudulent.