Danish bank Nordea has banned its employees from investing in bitcoin.
Subsequently, as Bloomberg reports, Denmark’s union for financial industry employees filed a case against the bank claiming that the ban interfered with employees’ personal lives.
The verdict of the Labour Court was published today and argues that, in the light of the risks inherent in investments in cryptocurrencies, and the bank’s internal rules, this prohibition cannot be regarded as excessively arbitrary, and thus can apply to all employees.
The Court also found no reason to override Nordea’s discretionary power in this particular case and does not consider that the prohibition is more intrusive than necessary. It, therefore, dismissed the Danish Union of Financial Sector Employees’ application and in fact authorised the bank to continue to impose a prohibition on its employees to invest in cryptocurrencies.
In a note of January 2018, the bank informed its staff that the risks were too high because the crypto market is not regulated and had previously been linked to criminal activities. In order to prevent employees from damaging the reputation of Nordea and its customers, it imposed these restrictions.
However, the prohibition did not apply to financial instruments linked to the cryptocurrencies that the bank had sold to its customers.
In fact, Nordea Bank offered financial derivative instruments based on cryptocurrencies to some special customers and it appears that it is not prohibited for its employees to invest in such products: the prohibition concerns the possession of cryptocurrencies.
In addition, the bank has also launched a blockchain-based payment platform called we.trade.
Moreover, in October 2018 the same bank was involved in a money-laundering scandal. In fact, the Swedish Financial Crimes Authority received a report stating that Nordea Bank had accepted criminal funds from banks located in Estonia and Lithuania.
These were some 365 Nordea accounts, which were to receive payments totalling around EUR 150 million.
The case recalls the words of JP Morgan’s CEO, when Jamie Dimon, in 2017, said that he would fire any of his employees who had engaged in crypto trading.