Dutch crypto companies, including Bitvavo and Coinmerce, have achieved a significant legal victory in their ongoing battle against hefty fees totaling $2.3 million imposed by Dutch regulators.
In two separate judgments issued on a Wednesday, a Rotterdam court ruled that the Dutch central bank (DNB) had exceeded its legal authority by charging companies for registration related to anti-money laundering compliance.
The court stated that the way the DNB evaluated registration requests contradicted the scope of the registration obligation for crypto service providers outlined in European Union anti-money laundering laws.
As a result, the court found it unlawful to charge supervisory costs to crypto service providers for the year 2021 based on current crypto regulations.
However, the court emphasized that the legislation remained consistent with general norms of good governance, and the companies should still be considered under supervision.
It’s important to note that this ruling only pertains to costs incurred in 2021, and a separate legal case is ongoing regarding 2022 fees.
The Netherlands has taken a stringent stance on cryptocurrency firms, imposing substantial fines on companies like Coinbase and Binance for failing to register.
Recently, Gemini announced its withdrawal from the Dutch market due to DNB’s strict regulatory requirements. Binance also transferred its Dutch customers to Coinmerce as part of its exit strategy.
Patrick van der Meijde, president of the United Bitcoin Companies of the Netherlands (VBNL), an industry group that coordinated the complaint, expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision.
He highlighted that the registration obligation, as derived from EU anti-money laundering legislation, had been violated in the Netherlands.
Van der Meijde also noted that the significant costs should not have been passed on to the companies because they were beyond DNB’s mandate.
A spokesperson for the DNB stated that they had taken note of the ruling and would further consult with the finance ministry on the matter.
The spokesperson emphasized that the DNB had acted in accordance with Dutch laws and regulations and asserted that the ruling affirmed their mandate to provide effective money-laundering supervision in the crypto sector and other financial institutions.