Brazilian Authorities: Tether's New Banking Partner, Deltec, Might Have Accepted Laundered Funds

Omar Faridi
  • Tether's new banking partner, Deltec Bank, may be holding laundered funds.
  • Brazilian prosecutors allege that the former director of a road infrastructure company in Brazil may be involved in laundering the funds.

Controversial stablecoin issuer, Tether Ltd. (USDT), had announced on November 1st that Bahamas-based Deltec Bank & Trust is its new banking partner. On November 6th, Brazilian news outlet, O Globo, reported that Deltec bank may have accepted laundered funds.

According to reports, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in São Paulo, Brazil is actively looking for Paulo Vieira de Souza, the former director of the São Paulo road infrastructure company (DERSA).

De Souza is suspected of being involved in the Odebrecht case - which the US government has described as “the largest foreign bribery case in history.” While working at DERSA, De Souza reportedly transferred 25 million Swiss Francs ($25,071,250) to an account belonging to the Nantes Group (a Panama-based offshore firm).

The Nantes Group’s account was managed by Bordier & Cie (a private Swiss bank owned by the Bordier family), and De Souza was the beneficiary of this account.

Laundered Funds Might Be At Deltec Bank

However, an investigation being carried out by De Souza’s prosecutors has revealed that the laundered funds may have been transferred from Nantes Group’s accounts to those managed by Deltec bank (in February 2017).

Specifically, these funds were transferred to Deltec bank’s headquarters in Bahamas’ capital city, Nassau - which is the same financial institution that recently opened a bank account for Tether Ltd.

At present, De Souza’s prosecutors in Brazil are waiting for authorities in the Bahamas to confirm whether the laundered sum is actually deposited at Deltec bank’s branch in Nassau.

Brazilian officials and Bahamas’ government have previously investigated several other money laundering cases.

Tether's Letter Is "Authentic"

As CryptoGlobe reported in early October, Tether had parted ways with Puerto Rico-based Noble bank and then recently opened an account with Deltec bank. On November 5th, the chairman of Deltec Bank & Trust confirmed that the letter published by Tether (regarding its account balance with the bank) was “authentic.”

As covered, Tether had shared a letter which showed that it had a balance of over $1.8 billion - which was held at an account with Deltec bank (according to the letter). When Bloomberg tried to confirm whether Tether was one of the bank’s clients, Deltec’s representatives refused to comment on the matter.

However, Deltec bank chairman, Jean Chalopin, sent a message to Coindesk stating that “the letter published by Tether is authentic.”