Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex sues Wells Fargo over suspended wire transfers

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Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex has filed a lawsuit against Well Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo N.A. after the bank decided to block all incoming wire transfers from Bitfinex made on its behalf.

Bitfinex (iFinex Inc.) is claiming that Wells Fargo, while allowing its customers to transfer money from their accounts to Bitfinex, is blocking transfers back to those accounts. Specifically, according to the lawsuit, the bank has “suspended U.S. dollar wire transfer operations needed to remit to plaintiff’s customers U. S. dollars that the customers deposited with plaintiffs to purchase digital currency, causing imminent and irreparable harm to plaintiffs.”

The exchange utilizes four Taiwan-based banks — Hwatai Commercial Bank, KGI Bank, First Commercial Bank and Taishin Bank — to make the transfers. It is alleged that the four banks were informed by Wells Fargo that the bank would not accept and would reject any transfers from Bitfinex’s correspondent accounts but did not contact Bitfinex directly to inform it of the decision or the reasoning behind it.

“Plaintiffs have received no inquiry or request for information,” Bitfinex said in the lawsuit. “If any request had been made, plaintiffs would have fully cooperated and responded to same. Plaintiffs have a long history of responding timely to requests for information from the Taiwan-Based Banks and, indirectly, from any correspondent banks.”

In addition, the exchange pointed out that it works cooperatively with U.S. law enforcement agencies “to uphold the highest standards of integrity and compliance with regulatory law.”

Although the inability to transfer funds to Wells Fargo customers in the United States may seem like a mere inconvenience for Bitfinex, according to The Merkle the suspension of transfers to the bank has resulted a freeze on close to $130 million in customer funds.

Bitfinex is seeking the maximum possible financial penalty as well as a court order for Wells Fargo to cease interfering with wire transfers.

Photo: jeepersmedia/Flickr