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Feb. 23, 2021, 10:56 a.m. EST

Cryptocurrency firms Bitfinex, Tether settle New York AG’s probe for $18.5 million

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By Paul Vigna

The New York attorney general’s office settled Tuesday  a nearly two-year investigation  into the finances and corporate practices of the companies that operates the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange and the stablecoin tether.

Hong Kong-based iFinex Inc., which operates the Bitfinex exchange, and Tether Ltd. agreed to pay $18.5 million to the attorney general’s office. Additionally, Tether agreed to publicly release quarterly statements detailing its reserves.

The attorney general’s office said the companies made several public misrepresentations, regarding the dollar reserves backing for tether in 2017 and a situation in 2018 when Bitfinex  lost access to about $850 million  of its customers’ funds that it had placed with an outside company.

When Bitfinex lost those customer funds, it borrowed money from the tether reserves to cover the loss, something it didn’t disclose publicly. That money has since been paid back, though Bitfinex is still trying to recover the original $850 million.

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com

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