The judge in the class-action lawsuit filed against Tether, the issuer of the most capitalized stablecoin USDT and crypto exchange Bitfinex, has granted motions to dismiss many of the claims in the case.
Court documents filed on Tuesday in the Southern District of New York reveals that District Judge Katherine Polk Failla has granted motions from Tether’s and Bitfinex’s parent company iFinex to dismiss key claims in the plaintiffs’ case that the two firms manipulated the cryptocurrency market. Altogether, Judge Failla granted motions to dismiss five complete claims and part of one, while denying six others.
The judge stated that she would not allow investors to bring claims against Tether and Bitfinex under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), nor allegations related to racketeering or using the proceeds of racketeering for investments. She also stated that Tether and Bifinex investors could not “inadequately allege” the companies’ monopoly power in the stablecoin market.
The initial complaint against iFinex was in October 2019 where the plaintiffs alleged that the firm manipulated the cryptocurrency market by issuing ‘unbacked’ USDT, “in an effort to signal to the market that there was enormous, organic demand for cryptocommodities.” The plaintiffs also alleged that the firm wanted to inflate the price of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), “thereby creating and sustaining a ‘bubble’ in the cryptocommodity market.”
While Bitfinex and Tether had settled the case with the Office of the New York Attorney General in February over mismanagement of USDT reserve funds, the civil action with a group of aggrieved cryptocurrency investors continues. In the former case, Bitfinex and Tether agreed to pay $18.5 million for damages to New York and submit to periodic reporting of their reserves in addition to stopping service to customers in the state.
Tether in a blog post stated, “This case is doomed. Even for the remaining claims, the Court’s order raises substantial issues that will ultimately be fatal to the plaintiffs’ case.
“Litigation will expose this case for what it is: a clumsy attempt at a money grab, which recklessly harms the whole cryptocurrency ecosystem.”
The blogpost ended by stating, “Bitfinex and Tether look forward to litigating this case and won’t settle what remains of the plaintiffs’ baseless claims… We are grateful to Judge Failla for her meticulous opinion, which exposed many deficiencies in the plaintiffs’ claims.”