UPDATE (Jan. 10, 16:45 UTC): A previous version of this article contained incomplete information. A statement from Bitfinex general counsel Stuart Hoegner has also been added.
A class-action lawsuit alleging Tether and Bitfinex manipulated the bitcoin market has been withdrawn by the plaintiffs and re-filed with a new plaintiff in a different jurisdiction.
A document filed Jan. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington shows plaintiffs Eric Young and Adam Kurtz opted for voluntary dismissal of their case against Tether and Bitfinex’s parent firm iFinex. The case was originally filed on Nov. 22, 2019.
The following day, it was re-filed in the Southern District of New York with the addition of plaintiff David Crystal.
The plaintiffs, who both claimed to be bitcoin traders, alleged Bitfinex and Tether issued inaccurate information and “monopolized and conspired to monopolize the bitcoin market.” Drawing heavily on the case brought by New York’s attorney general last April, they also accused the defendants of manipulating the market by printing unbacked tethers.
“When bitcoin prices were falling, Defendants and their co-conspirators printed USD₮s and artificially increased the price of bitcoin,” reads the original filing. “Once Defendants and their co-conspirators artificially inflated the price of bitcoin, Defendants and their co-conspirators then converted the bitcoin back into USD₮s to replenish Tether’s reserves.”
Bitfinex has previously denied the accusations, describing the case as “mercenary and baseless,” stating it would contest any “nuisance settlements”.
In a statement Friday, Stuart Hoegner, general counsel to Bitfinex, said: “Apparently the plaintiffs have determined that their action should be filed in the Southern District of New York, which raises the question of why it was filed in Washington State in the first place. Whether this complaint is filed in Washington State or the Southern District of New York, it remains entirely meritless and will be disposed of in due course.”
It isn’t yet known why the plaintiffs decided to re-file the case. According to U.S. law, cases that have already been voluntarily dismissed can never be brought before the court again if dismissed for a second time.
In November, Tether published a letter of intent to file a motion to dismiss another separate class action that seeks retribution for manipulating the bitcoin price, claiming damages of more than $1 trillion. The letter, released more than a month after the lawsuit was originally filed, claimed plaintiffs were unable to prove Tether or Bitfinex’s involvement.
While the dismissal document is not signed by the judge, the case has now been marked as terminated on Pacer, the U.S. court filings portal.
See the new filing below:
See the voluntary dismissal document below: