WSJ Parent Company Sued Over Tether, Bitfinex Article

At the beginning of last spring, the Wall Street Journal published an investigative article on Tether, Bitfinex, and related companies.

The majority stake of both Tether and the Bitfinex exchange is owned by iFinex, a corporation established in the Virgin Islands.

Controversial Article

At the time, the Wall Street Journal claimed that the two companies, along with a slew of smaller shell firms related to the crypto businesses and their executives, employed shady methods in order to maintain their connections to the international banking system.

The article claims that the group of entities surrounding iFinex attempted to stay on top of the situation by opening accounts connected to businessmen who already had a reputation. However, the names of the companies used were changed for optics purposes.

“In Taiwan, the accounts were held in trust by Chrise Lee, an executive of Hylab Technology Ltd., which makes television set-top boxes. But the accounts were opened under the name Hylab Holdings Ltd., documents show.”

Ultimately, the accounts tied to Tether and Bitfinex often ended up running afoul of various investigations, whether related to terrorist financing or more garden-variety financial crimes, which cost the firms quite a bit in the long run.

The biggest loss, according to the article, was the result of an $850 million seizure of funds tied to Panama-based payment processor Crypto Capital Corp by the authorities. These funds are believed to have been tied to Tether despite the lack of formal documentation of the relationship.

Minority Stakeholder Sues Parent Company

Another company that the article alleged was in breach of proper financial conduct is AML Global Ltd. Owned by British businessman Christopher Harborne – who owns nearly 13% of the Tether-issuing company – AML Global – was pointed out in the article as an entity that engaged in misbehavior on iFinex’s behalf.

Harborne has taken Dow Jones & Company, WSJ’s parent firm, to court in Delaware over the matter, accusing the team of defamation.

“This defamation action arises from Defendant Dow Jones & Company, Inc.’s d/b/a The Wall Street Journal (the “Journal”) publication of an article in which it falsely accused Plaintiffs Christopher Harborne (“Mr. Harborne”) and AMLF of committing fraud, laundering money, and financing terrorists — even though the Journal and its reporters knew and possessed documentation that conclusively showed that those accusations are false.”

The Wall Street Journal has since taken down the part of the article accusing Harborne and his company of any wrongdoing. While Harborne does not deny being a stakeholder, he refutes holding any executive position at the company, as well as the accusations of illicit activity, and states that the stake was acquired as a result of a Bitfinex reimbursement plan following a hack in its early days.

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