OAG scoffs at Bitfinex claim that it’s spent over $500,000 on requested info

Posted: 2 August 2019 4:57 pm
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Cryptocurrency

The information it needs to provide should be near at hand for any reputable institution, OAG said, among other things.

The second most recent development in the protracted Bitfinex and Tether (iFinex) vs New York Attorney General's Office (OAG) scuffle was that the presiding judge extended the initial injunction on iFinex, as he considers iFinex's argument that the case should be dismissed.

The most recent development is that iFinex has asked that the ruling be stayed during appeal in the event of the case not being dismissed.

What's basically happening now is that it could go one of two ways:

  1. It gets dismissed and everyone goes home. This is what iFinex is aiming for.
  2. It does not get dismissed. This is what OAG is aiming for.

If it does not get dismissed, iFinex will be appealing the decision (asking the courts "are you sure?"), at which point everything will keep going for a while longer.

The question on the table now is, in the event of the case not being dismissed, whether iFinex should have to keep providing information to OAG and restricting its business operations until the appeals process is finished.

iFinex is asking for a "stay", which in this case means it would not have to.

To whom it may concern

In a letter to the judge filed with the rest of the case documents, iFinex argues its point relative to four considerations that the law says are relevant in these kinds of situations.

  1. Whether the appeal has merit
  2. Whether granting a stay would be particularly unfair to someone
  3. Whether that stay is designed to delay proceedings
  4. Whether a stay is in the public interest

From iFinex

Relative to each of those points, iFinex argues that:

1. The appeal has merit

"As the court recognised at yesterday's hearing, this case presents significant and challenging legal issues, and for these reasons, an appeal in this matter would unquestionably have merit."

2. Not granting a stay would be unfair for iFinex

iFinex has spent over $500,000 dredging up the documents requested by the OAG, and has had to enlist the help of over 60 lawyers, just to access the information that falls in the realms of the existing scope of the injunction.

"This is not a document production that entails simply pressing a button and collecting emails from a centralised server," it argues.

And the costs are set to become much higher if a stay is not granted. At the same time, granting a stay would cause no real harm to anyone.

It wouldn't hurt Tether holders, because they'll simply continue enjoying the same service they have for the last three months since the case was first busted open. And it wouldn't hurt the OAG's case, because it has other avenues to procure the information needed if it really wants to.

"The OAG's evident desire to avoid being inconvenienced is far outweighed by the irreparable harm that the Respondents face," iFinex argued.

3. The stay is not designed to delay

The stay is not designed to delay. It's an effort to avoid the massive expense and undue burden of having to comply with the OAG's "broad document requests while pursuing what we believe will be an ultimately successful challenge to the Order".

4. A stay is in the best public interest

A stay would avoid wasting judicial resources, while also serving the principles of basic fairness by preventing iFinex from being unduly harmed.

From OAG

The OAG counter-argues that:

1. The appeal does not have merit

Just because you can appeal doesn't mean your appeal has merit, the OAG says in almost those exact words. And just because the case involves virtual currencies, that doesn't mean the underlying issues such as jurisdiction are novel or tricky.

2. Not granting a stay wouldn't hurt anyone

If iFinex is spending so much time and money pulling together basic documents, that's its fault.

"The Order also calls for information that any responsible trading platform or venue of exchange should have at its fingertips.

Such information includes, among other things, Tether issuance and redemption orders, trading details, tax filings and Tether client information.

"There is nothing difficult, or costly, about producing that information."

Plus, as iFinex said, OAG can get that information anyway, so what's so unfair about providing it? Besides, the investigation would continue during the appeals process either way.

In addition, precedent says the prospect of these kinds of costs isn't enough to qualify as "irreparable harm".

3. ...

Although the new letter doesn't mention it, OAG has previously argued that the entire motion to dismiss is a delaying tactic, so its thoughts on this point may go without saying.

4. Not granting a stay is in the best public interest

Not granting a stay serves the interests of the people of New York, by getting them the timely disclosure of iFinex documents.



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Disclosure: The author holds BNB, BTC at the time of writing.

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