Bitfinex says it was conned.
The crypto exchange and sister company of Tether claimed Friday that it was the “victim of a fraud” at the hands of Crypto Capital, a payment processor that allegedly lost $880 million of Bitfinex’s money. Crypto Capital’s president, Ivan Manuel Molina Lee, was arrested Thursday by Polish police on charges of money laundering.
Authorities had written that Molina Lee’s crimes included “laundering dirty money for Columbian drug cartels using a cryptocurrency exchange.”
In a statement released Friday, Bitfinex said it will “make its position clear” to U.S. and Polish authorities and will continue to pursue the funds that Crypto Capital lost. According to the statement, Crypto Capital had misrepresented its “integrity, banking expertise, robust compliance programme and financial licences” to Bitfinex.
Molina Lee is wanted in Poland for laundering up to 1.5 billion zloty (about $390 million) “from illegal sources,” according to reports in Polish newspaper W Polityce. Bitfinex denied rumors that it had played any part in the payment processor’s money laundering.
“We cannot speak about Crypto Capital's other clients, but any suggestion that Crypto Capital laundered drug proceeds or any other illicit funds at the behest of Bitfinex or its customers is categorically false,” wrote Bitfinex general counsel Stuart Hoegner.
Bitfinex image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.