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Bitfinex, Tether owner pays $18.5 million fine to settle NYAG cryptocurrency cover-up charges


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Bitfinex, Tether owner pays $18.5 million fine to settle NYAG cryptocurrency cover-up charges

By Jonathan Stempel

 

2021-02-23T162317Z_2_LYNXMPEH1M10E_RTROPTP_4_BITCOIN-EXCHANGES-RISKS.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Photo illustration of Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange website taken September 27, 2017. Picture taken September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The owner of the Tether cryptocurrency and Bitfinex trading platform will pay an $18.5 million fine to settle charges it commingled client and corporate funds to cover up $850 million that went missing, New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Tuesday.

 

James said the civil settlement with Hong Kong-based iFinex Inc and related entities will also require them to halt trading activity with New Yorkers.

 

Bitfinex was accused of having sent the $850 million to Crypto Capital Corp, a payment processor believed to be in Panama, without telling clients, and after the funds went missing, draining at least $700 million from Tether's reserves.

 

James said the diversion broke Tether's public promise to investors that its currency had been backed one-to-one by U.S. dollars, a practice she said had begun in 2017.

 

"These companies obscured the true risk investors faced," James said in a statement.

 

Tether is the world's third-largest cryptocurrency, after Bitcoin and Ethereum, according to CoinMarketCap. Its market value was about $34.8 billion on Tuesday, up from $2.8 billion when James announced her charges in April 2019.

 

Bitfinex and Tether did not admit or deny wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.

 

In a statement, they said the funds in question had been fully repaid with interest, and never impacted Tether's ability to process redemptions.

 

"The Attorney General's Office concluded, in essence, that we could have done better in publicly disclosing these events," Bitfinex and Tether said. "Contrary to online speculation, after 2-1/2 years there was no finding that Tether ever issued tethers without backing, or to manipulate crypto prices."

 

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by John Stonestreet)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-02-24
 
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Definitely one of the few pebbles in my shoe when it comes to the future of BTC (which I am definitely still in for the  medium to long term).   You can just kind of feel that eventually it's going to come out that the $33 billion in Tether that is floating around out there is actually just backed by a few hundred million in USD.  

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Tether is a problem for Tether. If the exchanges need stablecoins to facilitate what they do, a coin managed by a group of more transparent, competent, and honest people will soon emerge.

Sure, Bitcoin will be temporarily buffeted by any bad news in the crypto space, but it is very much its own thing. Unlike traditional finance, there is no real risk of contagion.

 

Edited by donnacha
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3 hours ago, Heng said:

Definitely one of the few pebbles in my shoe when it comes to the future of BTC (which I am definitely still in for the  medium to long term).   You can just kind of feel that eventually it's going to come out that the $33 billion in Tether that is floating around out there is actually just backed by a few hundred million in USD.  

er, they would have been absolutely <deleted> by the AG if true.

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