Bind And Bitfinex, are the entities behind the issuance of the cryptocurrency market’s main stablecoin the USDT giants with feet of clay? Giants whose profile, reputation and past actions of their historical founders would constitute the greatest weakness, threatening their very foundations and, by extension, the entire cryptocurrency industry? Without formally answering this question, it is in any case the frame perceived in filigree of the very in-depth investigative work carried out by the Italian journalist Nicola A. BORZI from which we draw the good leaves today.
Foreword and disclaimer: this article is mainly taken from the original investigation by the journalist Nicola A. BORZI specialized in financial investigations and journalist within the newspaper Daily fact.
The original article “Devasini and van der Velde in business with the king of European VAT scammers” exposes the links between the co-founders of Tether and Bitfinex e Gennaro “Rino” Platoconvicted of mafia in Spain and Germany operating an illegal VAT fraud ring with damages estimated at €500 million a year.
In these difficult times in which the whole sector seems to falter a little more every day, it should however be underlined that the journalist does not comment on the “USDT case” as such (the crypto topic being not the heart of the dossier), nor more than on the recurring theme for years of the reality and real size of the reserves supposed to guarantee the main stablecoin on the market.
On the central importance of Tether (USDT) to the cryptocurrency industry
Even if you are a total newbie to the crypto subject, you will not have missed the importance of stablecoins and the omnipresence of the most important of them: the USDT.
The USDT stablecoin was created in 2014 and represents, at the time of writing, a monetary mass of 66 billion dollars.
If the figure is impressive, let us remember above all that according to the principle according to which 1 USDT = 1 $, the equivalent of 66 billion of value should be held right now in the coffers of Bindthe person in charge of its management.
Bitfinex it is for its part a cryptocurrency exchange platform, intrinsically linked to Tether. A close correlation that has had the gift of annoying the Attorney General of the State of New York who is concerned about the hidden business relationships existing between the entities. A concern that will finally be dispelled in February 2021 with a handshake and a large check.
Beyond these twists in the classroom, a fundamental issue remains, concerning the solidity of the USDT / Tether / Bitfinex triptych. This solidity is in fact entirely based on the belief in the reality of such reserves and has been a sea serpent in the cryptocurrency industry for years.
Even if things tend to become clearer lately, with Tether increasingly lending itself to generally positive external scrutiny, one subdued anxiety remains: the USDT’s collapse or fluctuation (in other words, its parity with the dollar) would be an event that would make storms LUNA, Celsius, and even FTX look like spring rains.
Finally, we conclude this quick overview by indicating that Italian Giancarlo Devasini is the CFO of Tether and Bitfinex and Dutch Ludwig Jan van der Veldemanaging director of these two structures.
Having recalled 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 the following: through companies PAGE Asia And Yurakuthe CEO and the chief financial officer would be linked to the Dutch mafia Gennaro “Rino” Plato, himself convicted in Spain of a vast European-wide VAT fraud. The facts would essentially date back to the end of the 2000s.
Folder “Operational Medina” it refers to a massive Spanish court operation into the facts that began in 2006. Operacion Medina involved Spanish business giants making hundreds of millions of euros against the backdrop of a European VAT scam, the largest of its kind for the country.
The investigations were for convenience compartmentalized into 5 separate files, some of which did not receive a final ruling until early 2022 after an investigation began in 2018.
It is the study of this voluminous dossier that reveals hidden commercial links between the management of Tether/Bitfinex and “Rino”, the central figure of this vast affair.
A river survey
The bond between these individuals and subjects that nothing else binds is, according to Borzi, the fact of the investigations of a pool of reporters from his newspaper. Daily fact on behalf of the EIC, the European collaborative network for transnational investigative journalism.
Gennaro “Rino” Platone, fulcrum of the dossier
As is often the case in these cases, it is through front or offshore companies that the threads are spun and the extent of the cobwebs revealed. A canvas with a key character at the centre: Gennaro “Rino” Plato.
“For years Plato was the undisputed king of some of the main VAT scams of the Old Continent, capable of making a turnover of half a billion euros a year. It is no coincidence that “Rino”, so elusive that we can’t even find a photo of him, has twenty convictions in Spain and Germany, investigations in Holland, the United Kingdom and Italy. The link that links Plato to Devasini is the company Perpetual Action Group (Asia) Inc, with the acronym Pag Asia, and its subsidiary Pag Sam in Montecarlo. The thread that binds Plato to van der Velde is Yuraku, a group of companies active in Singapore, the United States and the Netherlands. »
Article by Nicola Borzi
Ties to future leaders of Tether and Bitfinex
The investigations seem to reveal that the future bosses of Tether/Bitfinex have assumed, since the mid-2000s, different responsibilities and functions within the electronics company Perpetual Action Group (PAG) and its foreign subsidiaries.
Van der Velde he would then be the managing director of the Asia department from 2006 to 2012 e Giancarlo Devasini liquidator of the Monegasque structure in 2009, again according to the journalist. Devasini he would also have been the “inventor” on behalf of PAG of a content protection device for DVDs, then resold to the European branch of Hustleradult content giant.
Another commercial entity, this time specializing in photovoltaics, appears according to the file Operation Medina and the reporter’s research: Yuraku, based in Singapore. During his demonstration, the author of the investigation points out that the American branch of this company was liquidated on July 2, 2012 by Ludwig Jan van der Veldewho was the CEO.
PAG and Yuraku would have particularly benefited from the “Plato system”, the latter based on sectors (electronics and solar energy) particularly favorable to exotic financial arrangements, to fuel its vast VAT fraud scheme. These two entities are managed (also liquidated) by Devasini And Van der Veldethe question therefore arises of their degree of knowledge and involvement in Plato’s events.
The article also returns in great detail to the existence of complex arrangements and the alleged desire for Gennaro “Rino” Plato cover their tracks by multiplying companies and liquidations. In this interweaving of facts, dates and interconnections, the names of the CFOs and CEOs of Bitfinex and Tether occasionally resurface, without it being possible, however, to differentiate precisely what would fall within traditional business relationships, from what could have been possible unethical behavior or even infractions.
Rino Platone is currently on probation following the Spanish ruling of the case” Operation Medina in which he was sentenced to 3 sentences of 7 months each for tax evasion and 6 months for criminal conspiracy, for a total of 27 months’ imprisonment.
However, the investigations continue, and after the judicial phase in the strict sense, it is now the work of the journalistic ant that will perhaps allow new potential scandals to emerge from this vast file.
At present, it should be noted that Ludovicus Jan van der Velde, Giancarlo Devasini and the companies Tether and Bitfinex have not been directly affected by the Spanish procedure. Furthermore, the various parties did not want to respond to Nicola Borzi’s requests.