Lawyers who successfully sued Craig Wright for billions of dollars in bitcoin are going after crypto exchange Bitfinex and its affiliated dollar-backed stablecoin Tether – both already facing existing legal claims.
Kyle Roche and Velvel Freedman filed a class-action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York alleging more than $1.4 trillion in damages suffered by plaintiffs David Leibowitz, Jason Leibowitz, Benjamin Leibowitz, Aaron Leibowitz, Pinchas Coldshtein and “all other similar situated”.
The lawsuit claims that iFinex – parent company of Bitfinex – BFXNA Inc, BFXWW Inc, Tether Holdings Ltd, Tether Operations Ltd, Tether Ltd, Tether International Ltd and a number of related individuals used cryptocurrency to “defraud investors, manipulate markets, and conceal illicit proceeds”. The claim continued:
Part-fraud, part-pump-and-dump, and part-money laundering, the scheme was primarily accomplished through two enterprises — Bitfinex and Tether — that commingled their corporate identities and customer funds while concealing their extensive cooperation in a way that enabled them to manipulate the cryptocurrency market with unprecedented effectiveness.
Tether Anticipates Action
Tether appeared to anticipate news of further lawsuits against it. Just two days earlier in a blog post dated October 5, Tether – citing an unpublished research paper accusing it of market manipulation and fraud – said it expected “mercenary lawyers” to exploit the “deeply flawed paper” as evidence in the ongoing lawsuit.
Indeed, it appears that Roche and Freedman have used this paper as the background for the lawsuit, as point 13 of their filing to the New York District Court refers to Tether’s October 5 statement. It read:
Fully aware of the incredible harm they’ve inflicted on the cryptocurrency market, on October 5, 2019, Bitfinex and Tether published statements where they generally described the allegations contained herein, admitted that they 'fully expect' to be sued, and stated that they 'would not be surprised if just such a lawsuit will be filed imminently'.
The filing concluded that calculating the damages at this stage would be premature, but added:
There is little doubt that the scale of harm wrought by the Defendants is unprecedented. Their liability to the putative class likely surpasses $1.4 trillion US dollars.
Roche and Freedman were the principal lawyers acting on behalf of the Kleiman estate versus Craig Wright, the bitcoin investor and self-proclaimed to be bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, winning a claim that is likely to be worth several billion dollars.
It was revealed in the summer that the ongoing legal battle both Tether and Bitfinex face against the New York Attorney General over claims Tether’s dollar reserves were used by Bitfinex to plug a funding gap, has already cost the firms more than half a million dollars.
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