Bitcoin’s biggest exchange, Bitfinex, has secured a bank account with Noble Bank International, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Bloomberg reports.
Bitfinex’s banking arrangements have been unclear since it lost access to Wells Fargo as its correspondent bank in April 2017. The British Virgin Islands-based company, which currently handles around half a billion in bitcoin trading volumes, opened a Polish bank account in November 2017 to begin trading euro pairs.
Also in February, ING, the Netherlands’ largest financial services company, confirmed that Bitfinex holds a bank account with it, while questions mount over a digital token linked to its backers.
Citing three people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg stated that Bitfinex has created a complex structure to move funds within the banking system to stay in the game. Part of this, it used a string of third-party accounts based in Panama City.
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Last month, Polish authorities seized 1.27 billion Polish zlotys (approx. 371 million dollars) from two companies on suspicion of money laundering for Colombian drug cartels. Some in the media have linked the companies to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.
Adding to its woes, Bitfinex was recently subject of scrutiny by the US regulators who asked the exchange to provide more information about Tethers, which are tokens backed by US dollar deposits, with each token always worth one dollar, as the two entities share the same CEO, Jan Ludovicus van der Velde.
Tether’s records showed that it had $443 million in bank accounts as of September 2017. However, the firm didn’t identify the banks where that money was held, and a report from auditor Friedman LLP said that it didn’t investigate the reliability of such records. The accounting firm only confirmed that bank deposits were held in the name of a trustee, but Friedman said that it could not confirm that Tether had any enforceable agreement with that trustee.
As such, the value of Tether only rests on the claim by its issuer.