Bulgarian banks have terminated the accounts of several cryptocurrency exchanges, according to reports and an announcement by at least one bank.
In an announcement on its website, Bulgaria’s First Investment Bank said that a large number of correspondent banks with which it works, including JP Morgan Chase and Commerzbank, refuse to accept transactions involving the sale of cryptocurrencies.
“In this regard, Fibank cannot continue to provide services to crypto-traders,” the bank said.
According to a report by news.bitcoin.com, Bulgaria’s major banks had blocked the accounts of multiple cryptocurrency exchanges. It quoted one as saying that it had been informed by United Bulgarian Bank “that they were closing down our accounts for trading in cryptocurrencies”.
One cryptocurrency exchange website, crypto.bg, had a notice on its site saying: “Our bank has closed our access to our bank accounts. We are working on resolving the situation”.
Cryptobank.bg said on its website that its bank, First Investment Bank, had informed it on December 7 that it was terminating its contract with it.
Separately, responding to media reports that in May 2017, Bulgarian authorities had confiscated 231 519 Bitcoins, the head of Special Prosecutor’s Office, Ivan Geshev, said on December 8 that the Prosecutor’s Office and the Interior Ministry had not seized Bitcoins.
The claim that Bulgarian authorities were in possession of the Bitcoins after a May anti-crime operation was posted on the website of the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center, SELEC.
On May 19, the Special Prosecutor’s Office announced a large-scale operation against a crime group involving hackers who had created malware that provided remote access to customs information systems by introducing it into the computer information systems of the Customs Agency.
Geshev denied that any Bitcoin had been seized in this operation. The case was being processed by the Special Prosecutor’s Office and charges would be lodged in court as soon as possible, he told the December 8 news conference.
According to a report by Coindesk, the price of Bitcoin hit a record spike of $17 000 overnight, but by noon UTC was trading at just less than $15 000.