Crypto exchange Bitfinex is facing a possible criminal investigation in the U.S., according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) reply to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request shared on Twitter late Wednesday.
The DOJ denied a request for information pertaining to Tether Holdings Limited, its parent company iFinex Inc. and its subsidiaries., which include Bitfinex, citing Exemption 7(A) of the FOIA Guide. The exemption prevents the disclosure of "records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that production of such law enforcement records or information ... could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings."
According to the individual who filed the FOIA request in February 2022, Twitter user oleh86, the request itself asked:
“Dear Sirs, Pursuant to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, I am hereby requesting any and all information in the possession of the US Department of Justice on jointly and severally TETHER HOLDINGS LIMITED, TETHER LIMITED, TETHER INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, TETHER OPERATIONS LIMITED, IFINEX INC., BFXNA INC., and BFXWW INC.”
Bitfinex has faced several investigations from criminal and civil entities in the U.S. amid questions about whether its sister company, stablecoin issuer Tether, was being truthful about the state of its reserves and whether the company itself allowed U.S. persons to trade on its offshore commodity exchange.
A spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.