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Brazilian Banks Investigated for Unfair Crypto Restrictions

Brazil’s government agency dedicated to inspecting economic power abuses has reportedly opened cases against six major banks in the country thought to have been undermining the performance of cryptocurrency brokers.

The banks in question include Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Itaú Unibanco, Santander Brasil, Banco Inter and Sicredi.

The Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) claims that the financial institutions have been abusing their market power by limiting, and even prohibiting access to banking services for crypto-derivatives brokers. This has been said to disrupt the operations of brokers and at times bring financial losses.

Several banks are already facing legal challenges from brokerage firms for closing banking accounts without providing an explanation or reason why, and have been accused of undermining economic order.

The Brazilian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (ABCB) requested CADE to launch this investigation, and have asked that at least temporarily banks must be obliged to both keep and open accounts for cryptocurrency brokers. At this time, CADE has not fulfilled that latter part of the request.

The banks claim that the accounts were closed due to a lack of compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) legislation that requires brokers to maintain basic customer data. According to a Reuters report, sources from the bank said privately that there is no guarantee their crypto clients will follow the AML policies and they would rather risk contestation over the closures than face sanctions during an AML lawsuit.

Speaking to Reuters, an antitrust expert said: ”It does not seem reasonable for banks to apply restrictive measures a priori on a straight-line basis to all cryptocurrency companies, without examining the level of compliance and anti-fraud measures adopted by individual brokerage firms individually conferring unlawful treatment per se on the brokerage business of crypto-coins.”

The case prosecutors, Bradesco and Banco Inter, would not comment on the matter.

 

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