Ex-NFL team owner seeks to renew plea talks in Crypto Capital case

Reginald Fowler is looking to renew his plea talks with U.S. prosecutors, eight months after rejecting the first plea deal. Fowler, accused of running one of the biggest shadow banking operations for digital currency firms, was set to forfeit over $370 million in the February plea deal.

U.S. prosecutors charged Fowler and his business partner Ravid Yosef in December 2019 with operating an unlicensed money-transmitting company. They alleged that he lied to U.S. banks to open multiple accounts, and then funneled hundreds of millions of dollars through these accounts for a number of cryptocurrency exchanges around the world.

In February 2020, Fowler was all set to admit to running an unlicensed money transmitting business and accept a plea deal—but he rejected the deal after learning that he was to forfeit $371 million he held in 50 different bank accounts. The case was set to proceed to trial.

The former minority owner of National Football League team Minnesota Vikings has now changed his mind, again. As per a Law360 report, Fowler’s legal team is once again open to exploring a plea deal with the prosecutors. In a hearing held over the phone with Manhattan judge Andrew Carter Jr., the lawyers revealed that their client is now willing to meet the terms of a plea deal and avoid going to trial.

However, unlike with the February plea deal, this time Fowler will also be admitting to wire fraud.

During the hearing, Fowler’s lawyers also requested the judge to overturn an earlier order freezing his assets. According to Inner City Press, the lawyers claim that Fowler has had over $258 million frozen. They requested a hearing on this next week.

Fowler’s company Global Trading Solutions LLC is alleged to have been closely linked to Crypto Capital, the company at the center of the $850 million Bitfinex-Tether saga. Through Crypto Capital, Fowler provided shadow banking services to Bitfinex and other exchanges including Binance and Coinapult. He is also linked to Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX which went down after the death of its founder who had reportedly misused vast amounts of customers’ money.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.