In a move that goes against the hardline stance of the Bank of Israel, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has told a Tel Aviv District Court that banks cannot automatically refuse to provide their services to customers dealing with cryptocurrencies.
Mandelblit has stated that Israeli banks should evaluate each case individually to assess whether given customers could be involved in money laundering activities before rejecting their business, as reported by local daily Globes. By doing so, the official opposed the crypto-skeptical guidelines issued by the Israeli central bank.
The Attorney General’s position was submitted in relation to a series of lawsuits filed with Israeli courts by a number of cryptocurrency holders. The complainants have allegedly been struggling to open bank accounts and deposit their funds with local banks who have refused to accept their money.
The Tel Aviv court has asked Mandelblit to present his stance for the purpose of a trial that involves local crypto exchange Bit2C which is suing Mercantile Discount Bank, one of the seven largest banks in the Israeli market with some 75 branches across the country. The bank allegedly refused to authorize a transfer of funds from an account owned by the Holon-based company, according to the information obtained by the paper.
The Attorney General claimed that, before a local bank can make a decision to refuse the provision of services to crypto-related businesses, it must first carry out a risk assessment procedure for that particular customer. Mandelblit’s position was formulated on the basis of the recommendations of an inter-ministerial team headed by his deputy, Erez Kaminitz, and including the representatives of a number of Israeli public institutions. These comprised the Ministry of Justice, the Bank of Israel’s Banking Supervision Department, and the Israel Securities Authority, among others.