Executives from Tether are potentially facing a criminal probe into bank fraud, Bloomberg reported Monday.
- The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Tether for a possible offense conducted years ago, the outlet reported citing people with knowledge of the matter.
- The price of bitcoin dipped on the news, falling about $1,000 shortly after the report came out.
- Tether, which administers USDT, the crypto market's largest stablecoin, has long been dogged by accusations of murky banking relationships.
- Tether and its sister exchange Bitfinex settled an investigation by the New York Attorney General's Office (NYAG) into whether the stablecoin issuer was covering up the loss of nearly $1 billion in customer funds earlier this year.
- In the settlement agreement, the NYAG said Tether used various banks, but was suspended from some, including Wells Fargo, for unspecified reasons.
- Bloomberg previously reported in 2018 that the DOJ was investigating whether Tether and Bitfinex were pumping bitcoin's price.
- Tether did not immediately answer CoinDesk's request for comment, but in a blog post after this article was published, seemingly implied the Bloomberg story was wrong without quite saying so.
- "Tether routinely has open dialogue with law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, as part of our commitment to cooperation, transparency, and accountability," the statement said.
UPDATE (July 26, 2021, 16:31 UTC): Updated with additional context and a statement from Tether.
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.