After two years of investigations, the companies will pay 18.5 million dollars.
The prosecution accused them of covering up operations and having no backing in the stablecoin.
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex and its subsidiary Tether, responsible for the USDT stablecoin, reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General’s Office to pay a fine of $ 18.5 million. The deal occurs after 2 years, during which time both companies were accused of illegally offering services, covering up operations and lying about the backing of the dollar-pegged currency.
Tether reported that neither they nor Bitfinex admitted any infringement and that the payment of the penalty shows his “desire to put this matter behind him.” Regarding the alleged issuance of USDT without backing, the company said that no evidence was found on the matter and also on the alleged manipulation of the prices of cryptocurrencies.
“The settlement resolves allegations about a loan that Tether made to Bitfinex when Bitfinex encountered challenges in accessing approximately $ 850 million in funds held by a payment processor in 2018. These developments are, by now, well known. The loan was made to guarantee the continuity of Bitfinex clients, ”Tether said in a statement.
According to Tether, the loan has already been prepaid with interest and without affecting its ability to process exchanges. As expressed in the document, the company said that the call of the prosecution was that they should have made a better public disclosure about what happened.
Tether even thanked the prosecution staff for their “cooperation and professionalism,” while Bitfinex posted on its Twitter account that the “agreement shows our commitment to the future of the industry and to transparency.”
In order to provide more information about their operations to investigators, Bitfinex and Tether handed over more than two million pages and documents to authorities in January. The data was requested by the Attorney General of the State of New York (NYSAG), according to a report released by CriptoNoticias.
Prosecutor’s Office in a confrontational tone against Bitfinex and Tether
Unlike the conciliatory tone shown by both companies in their messages, the position of the Attorney General of New York and prosecutor Letitia James is diametrically opposite. In the statement from the prosecution it is reported that the judicial process put an end to the illegal, fraudulent and deceptive activities of Bitfinex in New York. There is also talk of wanting to hide 850 million dollars in losses around the world.
“Tether’s claims that its virtual currency was fully backed by US dollars at all times was a lie. These companies were hiding the true risk that investors faced, “said the prosecution, which also stressed that the operations of Bitfinex and Tether they are banned in New York.
The entity pointed out that in 2017 Tether he had no access to banking and he had no way to prove endorsement of the stablecoin Tether. In addition, a series of bank transfers are described that the prosecution questioned about their legitimacy to verify the funds.
Currently Tether maintains a capitalization that exceeds 34 billion dollars. According to CoinGecko records, the capitalization at the time of publishing this article is about 35.8 billion dollars, which makes it the fourth most important cryptocurrency behind bitcoin, ether and Binance Coin.
In April 2019, CriptoNoticias reported the lawsuit that the prosecution filed against Bitfinex and Tether. At that time, prosecutor James accused them of trading securities in New York without authorization. Three months later the prosecutor presented 28 pieces of evidence against both companies.