On 2 January 2019, Diario Financiero, a financial news outlet, reported that the Chilean anti-monopoly court are forcing banks to keep accounts of local cryptocurrency exchanges open. According to a crypto exchange named Buda.com which was previously affected by banking restrictions, the anti-monopoly court held a poll and most of its members decided to stand with the crypto exchanges.
The Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia (TDLC), which is the name of the anti-monopoly court, made the announcement as a response to the Chilean Supreme Court’s decision made earlier in December which allowed the bank accounts of a local crypto exchanges Buda.com and OrionX to be frozen by a state-owned bank.
The TDLC will hear the testimonies from both the crypto firms and banking institutions in the next few hearings which were scheduled to be held in February. The country’s top officials will be attending the hearings, such as the Minister of Finance, Minister of Economy and the president of the local Association of Banks and Financial Institutions.
However, Banco del Estado and Itau Corpbanca, the banks that wants to close bank accounts owned by these exchanges, appealed to the TDLC, hoping that the court would reconsider the protection provided to the crypto firms. The country’s top court also kept their stance that the banks had legal rights to reject providing their services to the crypto exchanges, as the crypto market is not restricted by Chilean regulations and there might be fraudulent activities ongoing in the market such as money laundering. The TDLC further clarified that the Supreme Court’s current ruling did not have the judicial precedence to cancel the court’s previous decisions to protect the accounts of crypto exchanges from being frozen.
The TDLC rulings stated that local banks should unfreeze the crypto exchanges’ bank accounts and keep them operational during the entire period of the hearings. This decision was made to ensure that the banks could not “abuse” their “dominant position” and cause unfixable damage to the crypto economy unless they could come up with concrete evidences and analysis to prove that their decision were justified.
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