In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in Scotland, a bitcoin trader had his bank account frozen and more than five thousand pounds in cash seized under legislation that has traditionally been used to target drug dealers.
Bitcoin trader, Max Flores, 27, realised something was wrong when he was told by his bank that his account had been frozen pending an investigation by the police.
He was later told that his account had been closed due to police orders, and that he would be able to collect his money at a specified time and date. However, when he exited the bank, he was met by police officers who told him that his money had been seized under what is known as the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Flores had been interested in bitcoin trading for several years and had recently decided to start trading the online currency which can be bought and sold using traditional money from bitcoin exchangers.
Mr Flores told the press, “The bank only told me I couldn’t use my account and said it had been frozen until we investigate something. They then said your account is getting closed and asked me to come in and get my money at a specific time and date.”
A total of £5,500 was held for a period of approximately four months while the police and his bank investigated. Mr Flores claims he “probably lost around £1200 trying to get it back.”
Said the solicitor representing him, “There was evidence of money going through his bank accounts and it is correct to say that is typical of money laundering, and it is correct to say Max didn’t have an income at that point – so it may look on the face of it to be strange.”