Wall St. Journal Sued Over Tether/Bitfinex Article

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  • The Wall Street Journal has been sued for defamation by a Thai fuel broker implicated in illicit activities related to Tether and Bitfinex
  • Christopher Harborne has sued the outlet over allegations of fraud, money laundering, and terrorism financing
  • Harborne maintains that The Wall Street Journal published the article despite possessing evidence that exonerated him

The Wall Street Journal has been sued for defamation by a Thai fuel broker accused of involvement in illicit activities related to Tether and crypto exchange Bitfinex. Christopher Harborne, the owner of a Thai-based aviation fuel brokerage, sued the outlet at the end of last month over the article which accused him of committing fraud, laundering money, and financing terrorism. According to Harborne, the Journal and its reporters possessed documentation proving the allegations were false and yet still published the article.

Harbourne Denies Illegal Activity

The lawsuit, filed in a Delaware state court, denies that Harborne and his company, AML Global Ltd., were behind a raft of illegal activity outlined in an article titled “Crypto Companies Behind Tether Used Falsified Documents and Shell Companies to Get Bank Accounts.” The article detailed how Tether and Bitfinex struggled to maintain banking access, resorting to shadowy intermediaries and falsified documents. It suggested that some accounts associated with these companies engaged in illegal activities.

Harborne asserts that the article implicated him and AML Global in these activities without evidence, claiming that the only evidence they did have exonerated him. While the article initially included sections referencing Harborne and AML, an editor’s note later clarified that these references were removed to avoid implying their involvement in misleading banks or withholding information during the account application process.

Wall Street Journal Vows to Fight

The lawsuit also clarifies Harborne’s connection to Bitfinex, stating that he holds a minority ownership stake of approximately 12% as a result of the crypto exchange’s reimbursement plan for customers affected by a hack in 2016. Harborne asserts that he has never held a management or executive role at Bitfinex or Tether.

In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for The Wall Street Journal stated that the contentious paragraphs were removed following a review and in accordance with editorial standards. They further defended their reporting, emphasizing their commitment to accuracy and announcing their intention to mount a robust legal defense against the charges.