NYAG calls Bitfinex and Tether ‘perverse’

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, along with stablecoin provider Tether, have been pulling out all the tricks it can to try to prevent an investigation against them by the New York Attorney General’s Office (NYAGO) to proceed. The two may feel they have a stronger case for dismissal after a judge gave them a little bit of good news, but, overall, the case won’t come to an end before both the Attorney General (AG) and Bitfinex/Tether battle things out in court. AG Letitia James is reportedly baffled by the two companies as they continue to try to find ways to thwart the investigation and calls the pair “perverse” in regard to those efforts. 

Bitfinex and Tether have, once again, tried to argue that the AG has no basis or authority to go after the companies. Before, the argument was that Bitfinex didn’t have any customers in New York, but that defense fell apart when James produced evidence to the contrary. Now, lawyers for the two assert that there is no foundation  because “tethers are not securities or commodities.”

Even prior to the latest attempt, the AG had lashed out at the companies, whose issues center, in part, on a massive $850-million loss suffered by Bitfinex that Tether is reported to have allegedly tried to help cover up. James said earlier this month in court documents, “It is particularly perverse for respondents to criticize the adequacy of the NYAGO’s potential legal claims when respondents are the ones who have refused to disclose documents and information that would be directly relevant to their liability.”

She has asserted that it’s puzzling why the two would continuously try to have a lawsuit dismissed, when a formal lawsuit hasn’t yet been submitted. Currently, the only action taking place is an investigation that may—or may not—lead to a lawsuit. Bitfinex and Tether, eight months after the initial court order was given to hand over documents, have still been dragging their feet and not complying with their order. James adds, “No principle of law or rule of procedure allows a subject of an investigation to refuse to comply with that investigation in the face of a lawful court order.”

Lawyers have clapped back, arguing that they have already turned over tens of thousands of pages of documents, adding that the companies aren’t required to report everything they do because they’re privately owned. They assert, “Customers who choose to buy virtually currencies [sic] are obviously well-aware that, in doing so, they are not placing their money in FDIC-backed traditional bank accounts, or investing in public companies that issue quarterly SEC reports.”

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