One of the key people involved in the $850 million Bitfinex-Tether digital currency fraud case has hired a new legal team. Reginald Fowler will now be represented in court by Edward Sapone after his former legal team withdrew from his case for non-payment of fees.
Reginald Fowler first made his name playing for the Arizona Wranglers in the U.S. Football League (USFL) before eventually becoming a minority owner of NFL team Minnesota Vikings. He later grabbed headlines after the New York Attorney General accused him of being one of the people behind a shadow banking operation that serviced digital currency firms.
Fowler has been fighting his charges since then, represented by law firm Hogan Lovells. However, in November 2020, the law firm submitted a motion in court withdrawing their representation in the case. It would later reveal that Fowler had not paid his fees, in excess of $600,000. A judge at the Southern District of New York granted the lawyers’ motion in December.
At the time, Fowler told the judge “I have used all my assets. I put my properties up for bail. I can’t get a bank account. We don’t have any income. We can’t get to the assets. I want to find a firm that understands that. If I have to, I’ll come back and ask the court to help me find an attorney.”
Fowler has now found new representation. As per a document filed with the court, Edward Sapone of Sapone & Petrillo has taken up the case and will represent Fowler moving forward.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter clarified in a virtual hearing with Sapone whether he fully understands the circumstances behind the previous legal team’s decision to quit. As Law360 reports, the judge asked Sapone, “Mr. Fowler’s prior counsel withdrew from the case because they were not being paid. Do you understand that?”
Fowler is allegedly one of the operators of the shadow banking operation that serviced a number of digital currency businesses. Through his Global Trading Solutions LLC, he serviced Crypto Capital Corp., the Panamanian company at the heart of the $850 million Bitfinex-Tether scandal. According to the NYAG, Fowler gave false information to several U.S banks in which he opened accounts. He would then, together with this partner Ravid Yosef, funnel hundreds of millions of dollars through these accounts. Majority of this money was for digital currency firms that sought to side-step the thorough anti-money laundering and know-your-customer requirements.
At one point, Fowler had agreed to plead guilty to his role in the money laundering operation. However, he would later reject this plea after learning that he would have to surrender over $371 million he holds in 50 different bank accounts.
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