It appears Tether cannot seem to stay out the news these days. Recent reports suggest that Deltec bank, which recently emerged as the company’s new banker (albeit unconfirmed), is now in the crosshairs of the U.S. government for money laundering.
Venezuelan Money Laundering Operations
According to Tribune242, the U.S. government is targeting two Bahamas-based banks on suspicion of holding money linked to a massive money laundering operation out of Venezuela. State officials in the U.S. say top government functionaries in the Latin American state participated in a $1.2 billion money laundering scheme.
Of particular interest to the case is $12 million collected by a senior official of the Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) – the country’s state-owned oil company. In a plea agreement reached between the U.S. and Abraham Edgardo Ortega, a former senior executive of the company, the latter agreed to forfeit all deposits in both Deltec and Ansbacher.
Presently, there aren’t any indications of Deltec’s complicity in the scheme. However, the news is yet another blow for the reputation of the country’s financial industry. Recently, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed the country among ten others with poor anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding protocols.
Not a Good Look for Tether
Tether continues to feature prominently in the cryptocurrency news circuit for all the wrong reasons. The company hasn’t been able to provide a formal audit for more than a year due to unstable banking relationships.
Recently, the company announced its new banking partnership with Deltec, claiming a $1.8 billion bank balance. Tether also published a letter from the bank as proof. However, the letter has become a subject of further controversy given that there wasn’t a named signatory on the document.
The news coming out of the Bahamas concerning Deltec is further cannon fodder for Tether critics. The story also gets worse for Deltec as reports also connect the bank with another financial misdemeanor, this time out of Brazil.
Local media sources in the country say that the bank has some connection to a bribery case against former government officials. Paulo Vieira de Souza, who is facing indictment for his role in the Odebrecht corporate bribery scandal, is suspected of funneling some of the proceeds to Deltec.
What do you think about Tether running an account with a bank accused of aiding state-sponsored money laundering in Venezuela? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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