Esther Freeman invested 10,000 shekels ($ 3,000) in bitcoin eight years ago, during which time her bitcoins have risen to 900,000 shekels ($ 320,000). However, the local bank Hapoalim refused to accept them.
Freeman, 69, said she wanted to help one of her children buy an apartment in July 2020. The woman decided to convert bitcoins into fiat currency and found out that for 8 years her deposit in bitcoin
increased 100 times. The pensioner converted bitcoins into 900,000 shekels through the cryptocurrency company Beats of Gold.
Freeman tried to deposit money with her Hapoalim bank. The financial institution refused her on the grounds that the money was deposited in cash and “there is a risk that the deposit is opened for money laundering and terrorist financing.”
“The characteristics of virtual currencies allow them to be transferred anonymously and without supervision, often bypassing financial institutions, and they are subject to the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.”
The woman, disagreeing with the bank’s decision, filed a lawsuit in the Tel Aviv District Court, demanding to admit that she received the money thanks to the growth of bitcoin. According to Freeman, she and her family have been a client of Hapoalim Bank for many years. The organization is aware of all the financial transactions of the family, in which there is not even a hint of money laundering, and even less the fixation of terrorism.
In the lawsuit, Freeman asks the court to recognize the right to transfer to her bank account 900,000 shekels received as a result of the rise in the bitcoin rate. Freeman’s lawyer stated that they had already managed to secure the deposit of cash in the amount of NIS 10,000 in a bank account. According to him, the Supreme Court has already ruled that the creation by a client of a bank of a deposit related to the use of a cryptocurrency cannot in itself be a reason for refusing to place money.
In July, the Israeli Ministry of Finance published a bill obliging investors to inform tax authorities about the ownership of cryptocurrencies worth over $ 61,000. Israel recently introduced new rules on combating money laundering and terrorist financing on November 16.