A professional poker player has slammed Westpac as ‘tyrannical’, claiming the bank seized his accounts after he stashed ‘sloppy’ cash following poker wins.
The bank demanded to know where Crispin Rover’s funds came from, which amounted to ‘way, way less’ than $10,000, and refused to unblock his account until he told them.
Mr Rover told Daily Mail Australia he only realized there was a problem when he tried to pay with the card at the hotel he was staying at, but the bank refused it.
When she spoke to an ’embarrassed’ Westpac branch manager, she was told the transaction had been flagged because it was made ‘in a different state to where the account is registered’.
‘They … treated me like a criminal, accessing my account unless I disclosed personal information to them that they were not entitled to. It was a completely illegal standover,’ he said.
Westpac wanted to know the source of Crispin Rover’s deposit, which he did after having a ‘poker session’. Pictured, Mr. Rover in a still from one of his YouTube videos
Although Mr Rover’s deposit was ‘way, way less’ than $10,000 Westpac’s fraud team initially refused to unblock his account until he told them where the cash came from. Later the bank unblocked his account
Mr Rover, who is also an author, refused the bank’s request and took to Twitter on Monday to denounce the ‘sickening and outrageous’ actions of Westpac’s fraud team.
He told the bank where the money came from was ‘none of their business’ even though it was ‘legitimate’.
‘[The fraud team] Refused to name or request in writing, but said the account will not be unblocked until I properly explain these funds,’ he said.
‘To be clear, it was not some huge sum that triggered the money laundering. It was an everyday amount that could affect any normal person.’
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC), a government agency responsible for detecting money laundering, said businesses must report ‘every individual’ cash transaction over $10,000.
Mr Rover claimed his deposit was ‘way, way under’ that threshold.
He described Westpac as a ‘self-appointed jury of ordinary customers guilty until proven innocent.’
Daily Mail Australia makes no suggestion that Mr Rover was involved in any illegal activity.
On Monday night, he predicted that the use of cash would soon be ‘criminalised’.
“First the use of cash was marginalised,” he tweeted. ‘Now being tarnished. Soon it will be criminalized.
‘Eventually, even valuing the concept of personal privacy will be seen as treasonous.’
Several on social media shared similar experiences and speculated that banks were trying to make cash transactions difficult.
‘First they came for the physical branch. But I didn’t speak up because I do most of my banking online,’ wrote one.
‘Then they came to take the cash. But I rarely talk about using cash. Then they came for encryption. But I didn’t speak because I had nothing to hide.
Mr Rover, a professional card player, objected when he deposited poker winnings after Westpac blocked his account.
‘We know how it ends.’
One woman tweeted, ‘Westpac is a bank that won’t let us withdraw (legally earned) funds from crypto exchanges.
‘I tell everyone I know not to bank with them. Sorry they got you too. Abominable.’
An angry woman described the bank’s move as ‘theft’.
‘You should have called the police and reported the theft, because this is what it is,’ he tweeted.
Another claimed he would close his Westpac account if the issue was not resolved.
Daily Mail Australia understands Mr Rover’s account was unblocked on Monday afternoon.
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, Westpac said it temporarily blocked the accounts in the interest of its customers.
‘Due to the large number of scams and fraud cases, we exercise extra care to ensure the safety and security of customers,’ the statement said.
‘This may include temporarily blocking an account if unusual activity is observed so that relevant checks can be carried out.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted both the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and the Financial Rights Legal Center for comment.