Tether and Bitfinex Agree to Transparency Following FOIL Request
Tether and Bitfinex have announced their decision to drop initial opposition to a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request lodged in New York by several high-profile news publications. The USDT stablecoin issuer and cryptocurrency exchange are committed to transparently sharing information following a FOIL request from CoinDesk earlier this year.
In a joint statement shared with Cointelegraph, the companies emphasized their commitment to transparency but clarified that it does not mean a wholesale release of all their documents. They will not appeal against the FOIL request put forward by journalists, including Zeke Faux, Shane Shifflett, and Ada Hui, but accuse them of exhibiting “certain behaviors.”
The companies claim that Faux’s previous reports on Tether and Bitfinex have gone beyond the boundaries of professional journalism. They also criticize media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, whose journalists are participating in the ongoing FOIL request, for being one-sided and inaccurate.
Both Tether and Bitfinex emphasized their commitment to transparency and stated that they remain open to engagement with journalists and regulatory authorities. However, they called for responsible document review before any public release of information. They believe that their efforts to be transparent do not equate to unrestricted public disclosure of all documents.
The ongoing FOIL request is related to an agreement Tether and Bitfinex reached with the New York Attorney General (NYAG) in February 2021. As part of the settlement, the companies agreed to pay an $18.5 million fine to resolve a two-year-long legal dispute regarding the alleged commingling of $850 million of client and corporate funds. The settlement also required them to submit quarterly transparency reports to the NYAG for two years.
CoinDesk submitted a FOIL request in New York seeking public disclosure of materials relating to Tether’s first quarter that it had submitted under the settlement agreement. Tether initially opposed the FOIL request in June 2023 to protect confidential customer data and sensitive commercial information from possible exploitation by malicious actors.
In conclusion, Tether and Bitfinex’s decision to drop their initial opposition to the FOIL request demonstrates their commitment to transparency. While they won’t release all their documents, they remain open to engagement with journalists and regulatory authorities. The ongoing FOIL request is a result of their settlement with the New York Attorney General and aims to ensure the public disclosure of relevant information.