Regions

Latest Bitcoin crime elicits Nordic Forex bank warning

January 28
2:16 PM 2014

A financial institution in Sweden is refusing to deal with virtual currency as another scandal has rocked the potential use of Bitcoin as a legal form of payment. SEB AB, said Bloomberg, is currently rejecting clients' request whose wish is to set up accounts for Bitcoin. The Stockholm-based bank, which is the largest foreign currency trader in the Nordic region, is not intent on handling Bitcoin due to the large uncertainties regarding the virtual currency's status.

In an emailed response to questions, SEB chief risk officer Johan Andersson said, "Given the rules we have established for ourselves and rules that authorities have set up to prevent money laundering, we have currently made the decision that we cannot offer transactions, accounts or currency exchange in Bitcoin."

"We have received requests from companies that want to open accounts to manage Bitcoin, (and) we have so far declined. When we make decisions regarding corporate customers, we need to understand the business, there needs to be a sustainable business plan and routines for following money laundering rules," Andersson added in the statement.

Aside from SEB, the government of Sweden and the European Banking Authority have all issued warnings about the use and the risks associated with the Bitcoin.

On the other hand, SEB's comments may have been referred to charges filed by US Attorney Preet Bharara against Bitcoin Foundation Vice Chairman Charlie Shrem claiming that the latter attempted to sell Bitcoins to narcotics traffickers, Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said regulators in the Scandinavian region had been united in their skepticism towards virtual currencies, especially Bitcoin. The region is said to have among the most strictest banking standards in the world. Despite clamor and lobbying of regulation by virtual currency fans and the opportunities virtual currencies has presented in terms of payment and creation of startups, no authority in the region recognizes virtual currencies as money.

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