Tether AND BitFinex, are the entities behind the issuance of the crypto market’s leading stablecoin USDT behemoths with feet of clay? Giants whose profile, reputation, and past actions of their historic founders would constitute the greatest vulnerability, threatening their very foundation and, by extension, the entire cryptocurrency industry? Without officially answering this question, it is nevertheless the framework perceived in the watermark of the very deep investigative work carried out by the Italian journalist Nicola A. BORZI, from which today we take the good leaves.
Introduction and disclaimer: This article is mainly taken from the original survey of reporter Nicola A. BORZI specialized in financial investigations and journalist within the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
Original article “Devasini and van der Velde in business with the king of European VAT fraudsters” exposes the existing connections between the co-founders of Tether and Bitfinex and Gennaro “Rino” Platoneconvicted mobster in Spain and Germany who ran an illegal VAT fraud ring with damages estimated at €500 million a year.
In these turbulent times when the whole industry seems to be shaking a little more every day, it should be noted however that the journalist does not comment on the “USDT issue” as such (the subject of crypto is not the heart of the file), no more than in the recurring theme for years of the reality and real amplitude of the reserves that are supposed to guarantee the main stable currency of the market.
On the central importance of Tether (USDT) to the crypto industry
Even if you are a complete beginner to the topic of crypto, you will not have escaped the importance of stablecoins and the omnipresence of the most important of them: USDT.
Stablecoin USDT was created in 2014 and represents, at the time of writing, a cash offer of $66 billion.
If the figure is impressive, we will especially remember that in accordance with the principle according to which 1 USDT = 1 $, the equivalent of 66 billion in value is supposed to be held at this very moment in the coffers of Tetherthe entity responsible for its administration.
Bitfinex is in turn a crypto exchange platform intrinsically linked to Tether. A close bond that had the gift to annoy the New York State Attorney General concerned about hidden business relationships between entities. A concern that will eventually be dissolved in February 2021 with a handshake and a big check.
Beyond these twists and turns in the courtroom, an underlying theme remains, regarding the viability of the USDT/Tether/Bitfinex triptych. This strength is actually based entirely on the belief in the reality of said reserves and has represented a sea serpent in the crypto industry for years.
If things tend to clarify recentlyas Tether increasingly lends itself to broadly positive external audits, there remains a muted anxiety that a drop or swing in USDT (in other words, its pegging to the dollar stalling) would be an event that would displace LUNA, Celsius and even FTX storms for spring type rains.
Finally, let’s finish this quick overview by showing it in Italian Giancarlo Devasini it is financial director from Tether and Bitfinex and the Dutch Ludovicus Jan van der VeldeCEO of these two structures.
Remembering this general context, it is time to evoke the investigations of Nicola A. BORZI.
From VAT to cryptocurrencies, the unlikely alliance
The journalist’s thesis is as follows: through companies PAG Asia AND YurakuThe CEO and CFO would be connected to the Dutch mafia Gennaro “Rino” Platone, himself convicted in Spain of widespread VAT fraud across Europe. The facts would essentially turn around in the late 2000s.
PORTFOLIO “Operating Medina” refers to a major Spanish judicial operation on the facts that began in 2006. Operation Medina concerned Spanish economic giants making hundreds of millions of euros against the backdrop of a European VAT fraud, the largest of its kind for the country.
The investigations were split for convenience into 5 separate files, some of which did not receive a final decision until early 2022 following an investigation launched in 2018.
It is the study of this voluminous file that would reveal the occult business connections between the management of Tether/Bitfinex and “Rino”, the central figure in this huge affair.
A study of the river
The connection between these individuals and subjects that nothing else connects is, according to Borzi, the fact of the investigations of a group of journalists from his newspaper. Il Fatto Quotidiano In the name of EichEuropean collaborative network for transnational investigative journalism.
Gennaro “Rino” Platone, the key to the file
As is often the case in such cases, it is through front or offshore companies that the threads are woven and the scale of the webs revealed. A canvas with a key individual at the center: Gennaro “Rino” Platone.
“For years, Platone was the undisputed kingpin of some of the Old Continent’s leading VAT scams, capable of turning over half a billion euros a year. It is no coincidence that “Rino”, so elusive that we cannot even find a photo of him, has twenty convictions in Spain and Germany, investigations in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Italy. The link that connects Platone to Devasini is the company Perpetual Action Group (Asia) Inc, under the acronym Pag Asia, and its subsidiary Pag Sam in MonteCarlo. The thread that connects Platone with van der Velde is Yuraku, a group of companies active between Singapore, the United States and the Netherlands. »
Article by Nicola Borzi
Connections to future leaders of Tether and Bitfinex
Investigations seem to reveal that the future bosses of Tether/Bitfinex assumed, since the mid-2000s, different responsibilities and functions within the electronics company. Permanent Action Group (PAG) and its international branches.
Van der Velde would have thus been the CEO of the Asia department from 2006 to 2012 and Giancarlo Devasini liquidator of the Monegasque structure in 2009, still according to the journalist. Devastated would also have “invented” on behalf of PAG, a content protection device for DVDs, later resold to the European branch of Hustleradult content giant.
Another commercial entity, this time specialized in photovoltaics, appears according to the file Operation Medina and the journalist’s research: Yuraku, headquartered in Singapore. During his demonstration, the author of the investigation shows that the American branch of this company was liquidated on July 2, 2012 by Ludovicus Jan van der Veldewho was the CEO.
PAG and Yuraku would have particularly benefited from the “Platon system”, the latter relying on sectors (electronics and solar energy) particularly favorable to exotic financial deals, to feed its extensive VAT fraud system . These two entities are managed (even liquidated) by Devastated AND Van der VeldeTherefore, the question arises about the degree of knowledge and their involvement in Plato’s works.
The article also returns in great detail to the existence of complex agreements and the alleged desire to Gennaro “Rino” Platone cover their tracks by multiplying companies and liquidations. In this tangle of facts, dates and connections, the names of the CFOs and CEOs of Bitfinex and Tether come up time and time again, however without being able to differentiate exactly what would fall under traditional business relationships, from what might could have been unethical. behavior or even violation.
Rino Platone is currently on bail following the Spanish trial of the case ” Operation Medina in which he was sentenced to 3 sentences of 7 months for tax evasion and 6 months for criminal association, a total of 27 months in prison.
The investigations continue, however, and after the legal phase, strictly speaking, it is the work of the journalist ant that will probably make it possible to extract new potential scandals from this huge file.
As it stands, it should be noted that Ludovicus Jan van der Velde, Giancarlo Devasini and the companies Tether and Bitfinex were not directly affected by the Spanish proceedings. The various parties did not want to respond to Nikola Borzi’s requests either.