Northern Data Slumps as Market Manipulation Allegations Surface

Investors have lost about $300 million after reports BaFin filed a complaint against the company.

Oct 7, 2021 at 10:21 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 7, 2021 at 1:42 p.m. UTC

Investors in Northern Data have lost about $300 million this week as shares of the provider of high-performance computing services to bitcoin miners slumped after media reports that BaFin, Germany’s financial regulator, accused the company of market manipulation.

Shares of the company have lost more than 25% since German finance publication Wirtschaftswoche said on Friday that BaFin filed a complaint with the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt. A spokesperson for the prosecution office told the Financial Times the criminal complaint it had received pointed to a misleading “ad hoc release” that Northern Data published in 2019.

In a statement on its website, Northern Data rejected the accusation of market manipulation and said the complaint relates to an announcement regarding the acquisition of Whinstone US in 2019. The Texas-based plant is one of the largest crypto mining facilities in the country. It was acquired by Riot Blockchain in April 2021.

“We reject the allegations made therein, in particular of market manipulation,” Northern Data said. “We are confident that we will clarify the matter in full cooperation with the authorities.”

Northern Data is a Frankfurt-listed software company with a market capitalization of $1.01 billion. In February, Northern Data announced it was planning to list in the U.S. to raise $500 million.

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Sandali Handagama is a CoinDesk reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She does not own any crypto.