Chile’s anti-monopoly court has ordered two major banks in the country to re-open accounts for a cryptocurrency exchange after it filed a lawsuit against 10 banks, accusing them of anti-competitive behavior. The two banks must enter into a new contract with the crypto exchange under the same terms and conditions as before.
The anti-monopoly court published the ruling on its website, ordering state bank Banco del Estado de Chile and Itau Corpbanca to re-open Buda’s accounts, while the exchange’s lawsuit continues against 10 banks, including the aforementioned two. Buda sued the banks after what it said was the unjustified closure of its accounts.
Buda’s suit, which was lodged with the court early this month, names 10 banks which include; Bancoestado, Itau, Santander, Bci, Banco de Chile, Scotiabank, Bice, and BBVA, according to Diario Financiero.
In the suit, Buda asked the court to punish the 10 banks with the maximum possible fines established in DL211, with costs, and order them to stop the practice indicated, without prejudice to other measures deemed appropriate to the effect. Bloomberg news outlet described and noted that Buda accused the banks of executing:
Anticompetitive behavior consisting of abuse of their collective dominance position and by engaging in an abusive exploitation that excludes their dominant position…with the purpose or effect of preventing, restricting and hindering competition in the affected markets.
In an interview with CoinDesk, Buda’s CEO, Guillermo Torrealba, accused the banks of abuse of power. Torrealba said that the banks claimed that they terminated the accounts due to a lack of regulation.
They are not the ones that decide what should be regulated and what should not,
– Said Torrealba.
Sensing that their argument didn’t hold any water, the banks later shifted their positions, citing concerns over money laundering.
Torrealba hailed the temporary orders arguing that it was a sign of the trial’s outcome. Torrealba said, adding that the ruling has importance for Chile more broadly:
Basically the industry will continue to develop and it’s also very important for the country, not only for the cryptocurrency industry because banks here have too much control over everything. So the fact that they can just kill an industry – a whole industry, a whole technology – just because they didn’t like it is very risky for a country.
Meanwhile, similar cases have been lodged in Brazil, following the local banks closure of accounts belonging to crypto exchanges. Recently, the Indian Reserve Bank has also prohibited local banks from engaging with crypto-related companies which led a local exchange, CoinRecoil, to seek legal redress from the local courts. The next hearing is due in May.
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