The US Justice Department is returning to a probe into a potential bank fraud at stablecoin operator Tether, as per a Bloomberg report, citing unnamed sources. The previous team of investigators did not manage to reach a definitive conclusion after looking into Tether’s questionable banking relationships, which prompted them to transfer the case. Bloomberg had originally reported on a Tether-linked banking-related investigation last July. Since then, the case has largely gone unnoticed. The Southern District of New York under US Attorney Damian Williams is said to be taking on the investigation.
Tether, meanwhile, outed a prompt blog post dismissing the Bloomberg report stating, “This is Bloomberg recycling old news that isn’t even factual.” A representative for the firm said of any investigation that “[t]here’s nothing new that we know of.” It clarified that the US Department of Justice is not currently investigating Tether and that the firm was identified as a victim, alongside Bitfinex, in one of the lawsuits referenced by Bloomberg.
Tether claims that it has “routinely” maintained an open discussion with law enforcement, including the DOJ, “as part of our commitment to cooperation and transparency.” The stablecoin operator goes on to state that it has had no interactions with the DOJ in connection with any investigation for well over a year and that “the DOJ does not appear to be actively investigating Tether.”
It is worth recalling that in 2021, Tether and crypto exchange Bitfinex settled a high-profile case with the New York Attorney General that saw both firms, owned by the same parent company, forced out of the state.
Core to that case was the use of Tether’s stablecoin deposits to cover $850 million (roughly Rs. 7,030 crore) of Bitfinex funds held by Panama-based payments processor Crypto Capital, which had in turn had them seized. Crypto Capital founder Reggie Fowler pled guilty to criminal charges earlier this year.
Tether remains the biggest cryptocurrency in the world with a market value of roughly $69.4 billion (roughly Rs. 5,73,993 crore).