â€œHow am I supposed to run a lawful business if I canâ€™t get a bank account?â€� Mr Flynn said.
After banking with Westpac for almost a year, Mr Flynn said the bank informed him it would close his account in five days. He later opened another account with the bank and it was closed the following business day.
Iâ€™d just lost my business and [Westpac] offered me $250 for stress and inconvenience. I havenâ€™t seen a cent of it either.
â€” Allan Flynn, cryptocurrency trader
When he asked why, he was informed his account was closed because he was â€œunder investigation for cryptocurrency fraudâ€�. In a visit to a branch to get answers he was informed a transaction with digital currency exchange BTC markets was flagged. He is seeking $125,000 for emotional distress.
A spokeswoman for Westpac declined to comment citing customer confidentiality.
In 2020 he took his case to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. AFCA found that Westpac closed his account under its terms and conditions, however it awarded Mr Flynn $250 in compensation for failing to provide him with reasonable notice of its intention to close the account.
â€œItâ€™s pathetic. Iâ€™d just lost my business and they offered me $250 for stress and inconvenience. I havenâ€™t seen a cent of it either,â€� Mr Flynn said.
Following a massive rally which has seen the price of bitcoin in Australian dollars rise from $30,350 on December 18 to $45,857 on January 18, Mr Flynn says he is considering raising his $250,000 request for compensation.
In his statement Mr Flynn claims additional interference from the banks, with an ANZ employee allegedly informing other financial institutions and his customers he was involved in fraud.
The bank also removed Mr Flynn as a signatory to a term deposit account held in his brotherâ€™s name which contained his parentâ€™s inheritance and closed the account. He is seeking $125,000 for emotional distress and damage to his reputation.
A spokesman said ANZ would be defending the claim but would not comment on the case while it was before the tribunal. It is understood ANZ does not prohibit customers buying bitcoin but does not bank businesses that operate as issuers, dealers or exchanges of cryptocurrency.
The outcome of the hearing will be closely watched by members of the sex industry who have likewise been denied banking services. In 2015, NAB decided that brothels and escort agencies were outside its risk appetite and would no longer service the industry.