UniCredit, an Italian banking firm, has been fined $144 million for allegedly closing accounts belonging to a crypto mining company.
Following a case brought by a subsidiary of the crypto mining business Bitminer Factory, a district court in Banja Luka, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, has determined that UniCredit’s branch office in the nation would pay a fine of €131 million ($144 million) in damages.
UniCredit’s local branch in Banja Luka was accused by Bitminer Factory’s subsidiary of erroneously closing its current accounts. The closure “prevented the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) related with startup ventures in the cryptocurrency mining sector using renewable energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” according to the crypto mining firm.
Due to the country’s low energy tariff, the company established mining activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and opened bank accounts with UniCredit. The UniCredit subsidiary stopped accepting them to withdraw proceeds from the sale of mined crypto to their accounts, claiming that it could not support crypto businesses and suppliers.
The bank, on the other hand, was unable to show that it had any written regulations prohibiting it from doing business with crypto-based companies, according to the court.
UniCredit, meanwhile, is dissatisfied with the decision and has apparently filed an appeal. The sentence “is not definitive, binding, nor enforceable,” adding: “Possible liability will be determined only by the definitive outcome of all available procedural remedies and not before the filing of a definitive and binding sentence by the appeals court.”
Following a response to a Twitter user in January, the Italian banking giant received backlash from the bitcoin community as well as customers.
“Hello, the current Group policies prohibit relations with counterparties issuing virtual currencies or acting as exchange platforms.”
Banks have refused to service accounts belonging to crypto holders in certain instances, according to UniCredit. HSBC, a European behemoth, stopped digital asset exchange transactions in the United Kingdom in 2021.
Other large banks, on the other hand, appear to have reversed their anti-crypto position and are now providing such assistance.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Australia’s largest bank, stated it would offer more crypto services to its clients, as previously reported by CryptoPotato.