Finland Banks Closed Down Bitcoin Dealer Prasos Oy Bank Accounts

Bitcoin Dealer, Prasos Oy, Plays Cat and Mouse With Finland Banks Closing Accounts

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  • Four banks in Finland closed down bank accounts of Prasos Oy.

  • This may be connected to the company’s transaction volume growth in 2017.
  • The Finnish company, Prasos Oy, is now left with just an account.

Finland: This seems like a cat and mouse game between Prasos Oy, one of the Nordic region’s biggest Bitcoin dealers, and Finland banks. Prasos Oy operates accounts in 5 different Finland banks, but recently four of these accounts have been closed down by the banks remaining just one for the bitcoin dealer to operate with. These closures came after the dealer experienced a ten-fold transaction volume growth in 2017.

Prasos exchanges digital currencies into euros, and relies on banks to help with these transactions. However, banks are increasingly saying no to Prasos and like firms, this is borne out of the fear of getting into trouble with anti-money laundering rules. The company says it is now awaiting and hoping that regulators will define guidelines that will allow it to continue with business.

Henry Brade, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, stated that four banks in Finland, where Prasos Oy operates, have already blocked the company’s accounts. However, the company can still access one bank account, which it currently uses for all its customer’s money flows.

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Although, there is no standing law in the Nordic nation that tells how banks should treat cryptocurrency dealers. Nevertheless, there are anti-money laundering rules that demand that lenders must know their customers as well as the origins of the money they handle. A unique feature of cryptocurrencies is the anonymity they offer, which pose danger for banks.

Prasos stated that the sudden growth it witnessed in its transaction volumes to about €150 million ($185 million) last year, may be something banks treat with suspicion. Henry said:

“We’ve realized that the growth in international transaction volumes started to disturb the banks. Along the way, we’ve been given very little information by the banks on what we could do to solve the problem.”

Henry added that the cooperative S-Bank, the OP Group, Saastopankki and Nordea Bank AB are the four banks that closed the company’s accounts last year. But representatives from the four banks have refused to comment on an individual customer relationship. Presently, Prasos’ website shows the it can still receive funds in its account at POP Bank.

Hanna Heiskanen, senior adviser at the regulator in Helsinki said:

“Cryptocurrency trading places are not currently under the regulatory mandate of the Finnish FSA. So it’s an affair between the company and the bank.”

Brade concluded that:

“The risk is that we’ll see our last bank account closed before we can get the next one opened. That would freeze our business.”

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