Tether, Bitfinex agree to drop opposition to FOIL request


Tether and Bitfinex have jointly agreed to drop initial opposition to a freedom of information (FOIL) request lodged in New York by a number of high-profile news publications.

A statement from the USDT stablecoin issuer and cryptocurrency exchange shared with Cointelegraph notes that it is committed to transparently sharing information following a FOIL request from Coindesk earlier this year.

The companies also indicated that they would not be openly releasing documentation, claiming that the approach is not in line with its business practices:

“It’s essential to clarify that transparency does not mean a wholesale release of all our documents.”

Tether and Bitfinex will not appeal against the FOIL request put forward by journalists including Zeke Faux, Shane Shifflett and Ada Hui, while claiming that this is despite “certain behaviors” exhibited by the writers in question.

The company’s claim that Faux’s past reports on Tether and Bitfinex have “extended beyond the boundaries of professional journalism”. They also claim that media outlets including the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, whose journalists are participating in the ongoing FOIL request, have been “one-sided and inaccurate”.

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The statement stresses that both companies are committed to transparency and remain open to engagement with journalists and regulatory authorities, given that they “adhere to ethical reporting standards and respect data privacy boundaries”.

Tether and Bitfinex have also called for “responsible document review” before any public release of information and that their efforts to be transparent do not “equate to unrestricted public disclosure of all documents”.

Cointelegraph has reached out to Tether to ascertain finer details of the FOIL request and the information it pertains to.

The ongoing FOIL request came after Tether and Bitfinex reached an agreement with the New York attorney general’s (NYAG) office in Feb. 2021. As initially reported by CNBC, this involved paying an $18.5 million fine to settle a two-year long legal dispute regarding the alleged comingling of $850 million of client and corporate funds. 

Part of the settlement required Tether and Bitfinex to submit quarterly transparency reports to the NYAG for two years. Following the end of these obligations, Coindesk submitted a FOIL request in New York, seeking public disclosure of materials relating to Tether’s first quarterly that it had submitted under the agreement of the settlement.

In June 2023, Tether claimed that it had opposed the FOIL request to prevent public dissemination of “confidential customer data” and to prevent the use of “sensitive commercial information” which it fears could be exploited by “malicious actors”.

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