Italian Bank Fined $144M for Wrongfully Closing Crypto Miner’s Account

Italy’s second-largest bank, UniCredit, has been ordered to pay $144 million for the wrongful closure of crypto miner’s accounts. The bank is appealing the decision.

Italy’s second-largest bank, UniCredit, is on the receiving end of a $144 million fine after it lost a case against a crypto miner. The bank had closed the account of the crypto miner, with the latter saying this was a wrongful closure. However, the case is not over, and the bank appears to have filed an appeal against the decision.

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Crypto miners fight back

The decision was made in the court of Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The case was brought to court by a subsidiary of the Italian company Bitminer Factory, which calls itself the first and largest mining farm in Italy.

The company further said that the account closures had gotten in the way of its ICO “in relation to a startup project in the cryptocurrency mining sector with renewable energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The bank had said that it does not enter into relationships or partnerships with digital currency suppliers and exchange platforms. This is a position many banks around the world are taking, including in India, though the status quo is changing. The court said that the bank did not show any written rules that prevented it from interacting with clients in the cryptocurrency space.

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Banks under watch as economic sanctions take hold

While many have been criticizing crypto for its potential role in Russia evading sanctions and facilitating illicit activities. However, it is the banking industry that has been proving to be problematic in these regards.

UniCredit has also been in the news for its Russian businesses. The bank announced that it would fully write off its Russian business, including cross-border exposure, and that it would cost about $8.1 billion. It is also committed to buying back its own shares. However, it would be dependent on the losses linked to the Russia-related assets.

The European Commission has also fined investment banks, including Bank of America, Natixis, Nomura, RBS (now NatWest), UBS, UniCredit, and WestLB (now Portigon), for breaching EU antitrust rules. They have been hit with a total fine of $407 million for “participating in a European Governments Bonds trading cartel.”

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