Many in the cryptocurrency field have recently discussed the upcoming January 15th date as an important consideration for the ongoing case between the office of the New York Attorney General (NYAG) and iFinex, the parent company of Bitfinex and Tether.
With this in mind, below is a comprehensive summary of what happened and what to expect on this date.
The NYAG v. iFinex Case: What Happened?
Back in April 2019, the office of the New York Attorney General alleged that the popular cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex lost $850 million and then used funds from its affiliated stablecoin operator Tether (the company that issues USDT) to cover the shortfall.
As CryptoPotato reported, later on, Tether issued a statement through a blog post which said that the allegations were written in “bad faith” and were also “riddled with false assertions.”
In May 2019, Judge Joel Cohen granted a partial stay on the NYAG office’s request for documents from the two companies until their hearing takes place on July 29th. During that hearing, the judge on the case, Joel Cohen, decided to extend the preliminary injunction as he was not ready to make a final decision on whether the case should go forward or be dismissed. Hence, he extended that injunction by 90 days.
In August, however, the NYAG presented new evidence on the case, alleging that apart from covering up the $850 million, Bitfinex and Tether had served New York customers for longer than they claimed. In part, the document stated:
The OAG has uncovered substantial ties between Respondents and New York concerning Respondents’ corporate operations; trading on the Bitfinex platform; the issuance, redemption, and trading of tethers; use of financial institutions to move money and process customer deposits and withdrawals; and representations to the market that might have been misleading.
Essentially, the NYAG also attacked Bitfinex’s LEO initial exchange offering, claiming that it “has every indicia of a securities issuance subject to the Martin Act, and there is reason to believe that the issuance is related to the matters under investigation,” meaning the alleged cover-up.
Additionally, the NYAG called iFinex’s motion to dismiss “an improper attempt to impede a lawful investigation.”
The Order to Turn in Documents
In September 2020, Judge Cohen ruled that Bitfinex and Tether must turn over documents detailing their financial relationship and history to the NYAG’s office. In addition to that, he also extended an injunction that barred Tether from loaning funds to Bitfinex by 90 more days.
However, on December 9th, 2020, Letitia James, the Attorney General, filed a document, asking Justice Cohen to extend the deadline to January 15th, 2021. James said that “the parties continue to cooperate on the production of documents in response to the 354 Order, and anticipate that the production could be finalized in the coming weeks.”
Why the January 15th Deadline is Important?
With this, we arrive at the time of this writing and the importance of the January 15th deadline. There are a few reasons for which this is a critical point in this case. First, it requires that iFinex produces the necessary information for the NYAG to continue its investigation and to further substantiate the merits of its claims.
And perhaps what’s even more important, however, is the nature of the documentation. In essence, iFinex has to produce materials on the process by which they determine whether, when, and how to issue and redeem tethers, banks, documents, and communications regarding specific issuances and redemptions, as well as trading activity on the Bitfinex trading platform regarding tethers and bitcoin.
This is a landmark case for the entire cryptocurrency space as USDT is the most popular and biggest stablecoin on the market. The company issuing it has been involved in many scandals in the past, with many questioning the fact that it’s actually backed by USD.
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