Bitfinex has called a new class action lawsuit which once again ties it to manipulation of the crypto markets in 2017 as “absurd and groundless”. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, echoes sentiments stated in an existing lawsuit filed in October in New York that Bitfinex and Tether combined to manipulate the crypto markets during the bull run, causing investors to suffer massive losses in 2018.
The filing is based in part on the findings of the now infamous report produced by John M. Griffin of Texas University and Amin Shams of Ohio State University which purports to show evidence that Bitfinex and Tether conspired to artificially raise the Bitcoin price in 2017 through unbacked printing of USDT tokens. Griffin and Shams recently doubled down on their findings by adding that a single ‘whale’ was responsible for buying up the Bitcoin with the printed Tethers, a theory that both Bitfinex and Tether again denied in responses published late on Friday:
This copycat lawsuit suffers from the same multitude of deficiencies as the unsound complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 6. The Plaintiffs’ claims here are similarly without merit, and Bitfinex strongly contests the bogus research purporting to support them.
Three’s a Crowd for Bitfinex and Tether
This suit is the third Bitfinex and Tether are currently facing, with battles against the New York Attorney General’s Office (NYAG) and the class action suit that Bitfinex says this new suit is copying currently progressing. The tussle with the NYAG relates to Bitfinex allegedly plugging an $850 million hole in their accounts with USDT tokens printed just for the purpose, while the class action lawsuits have been brought by members of the public who claim that it was the supposed manipulation by Bitfinex and Tether that caused their Bitcoin investments to crash in value in 2018. In their statements, Bitfinex and Tether left no one under any illusions as to their feelings on the merits of the cases:
To be clear, there will be no nuisance settlements or settlements of any kind reached. Instead, all claims raised across both actions will be vigorously contested and ultimately disposed of in due course. Once they are, Bitfinex and Tether will fully evaluate their legal options against those bringing and promoting the baseless claims.
Whether these end up being empty threats will only be known by 2020 at the earliest, but at least Bitfinex’s and Tether’s lawyers know they’re good for work for the next few years.