The Israeli Bank Hapoalim is being sued by an anonymous investor for around $22.5 million due to the space not accepting deposits the investor earned via Bitcoin, reports CoinTelegraph.
Local news outlet BlockTV reported the lawsuit this August 9. There, they noted that the lawsuit is being filed under a class action suit and that the anonymous plaintiff plans to sue other banks in Israel for the same reason.
The publication claims that banks in Israel are mainly against cryptocurrencies because they don’t trust crypto-related companies as they’re often associated with scams and other suspicious activity. That said, the investor’s lawyer, Lior Lahav, claims that banks can’t necessarily do this, putting points towards the anonymous cryptocurrency investor:
“The banks have an obligation under the law to accept money from the clients […] They can check on their clients, do their due diligence, and find out where the money is coming from. The problem with the banks is that they are doing nothing. They are not asking their clients: ‘Provide me documentation of the origin of the money.’”
Lahav has numbers on his side, as well, stating that there are over 70,000 people buying Bitcoin in Israel, and that are being punished just as much without doing anything wrong:
“There are more than 70,000 bitcoin investors in Israel who are facing the same problem from their banks […] 99 percent of them are ordinary people that invested in a thing that’s completely legal.”
As CoinTelegraph reports, Lahav notes that Ross Gross is not his client. Gross is an outspoken investor in Bitcoin that notes his bank, Hapoalim, denied his deposit for the very same reason. Despite the man having been invested since 2011 and having reported his earnings to the Israel tax authority, the bank stopped accepting deposits from his cryptocurrency wallet in 2017.
“The tax authority is aware of the problem, but they say the ball isn’t in their court,” says Gross.