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December 2, 2014

HSBC cuts ties with world’s first regulated Bitcoin investment fund

The bank fears money laundering risks.

By CBR Staff Writer

Global Advisors (GA), a Jersey based firm which launched the world’s first regulated Bitcoin investment fund has received a notice from HSBC saying its account with the bank will be closed within 60 days.

BBC reported GA director Daniel Masters saying that HSBC was concerned about "money laundering risk", and with the notice the firm’s plans to make Jersey a global centre for digital currency has been threatened.

Masters added that the move is a "step in the wrong direction for Jersey", as GA’s Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund is certified by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.

A spokesman for HSBC told BBC, "We do not discuss individual customers, nor do we confirm whether an individual or business is, or has been a customer."

But he added: "In reviewing our portfolio, we have identified a number of relationships that don’t meet our strategic criteria.

"We don’t take the commercial decision to end a customer relationship lightly, and when we do so it follows careful consideration of that relationship in light of our strategic focus or global risk management standards."

Global Advisors has already found another Jersey bank but GABI’s banking is not done on the island but its funds remain registered and regulated in Jersey.

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Jersey Finance chief executive Geoff Cook said he will not comment on individual cases, but said GABI reflected Jersey’s position "as both a leading hedge fund jurisdiction and a pioneering centre for the rapidly evolving world of fintech (financial technology)".

Previously FBI had shut down online marketplace Silk Road because it dealt with illegal goods and accepted crypto-currencies.

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