April 18, 2024

The prominent US news outlet, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), reportedly faces a defamation lawsuit regarding a 2023 crypto article.

This information emerged from a report by an investigative platform, OffshoreAlert. WSJ  published an article about Tether and Bitfinex’s challenges in accessing the global banking system. 

The article suggested that the two companies use illegal documents, shady intermediaries, and shell entities to maintain accessibility.

As a result, the founder of AML Global Ltd, Christopher Harborne, filed the lawsuit against WSJ’s parent firm, Dow Jones $ Company, on February 28 in Delaware Superior Court. 

But in response to the lawsuit, WSJ noted that the legal action encompasses several inaccurate and distorted information.

AML Global Lawsuit Against WSJ 

WSJ  published the contentious article titled the crypto article “Crypto Companies Behind Tether Used Falsified Documents and Shell Companies to Get Bank Accounts” in March 2023. 

According to the lawsuit, this crypto article comprises baseless accusations of terrorism financing, money laundering, and fraud. 

Notably, the article cited that Tether and Bitfinex have resorted to questionable actions while aiming for global banking relationships. As such, they have involved shadowy intermediaries, falsified documents, and shell companies.

Further, the article linked some executives of certain businesses, including Harborne, in such shady activities. Also, it claimed that the companies and officials have assisted Tether and Bitfinex in scaling over banking processes. 

Further, The WSJ mentioned that some accounts related to the companies are used for illegal activities.

However, Harborne denied having an executive position in Tether or Bitfinex in the filing but stated he holds over 12% stake in Bitfinex. He said the shares were acquired via Bitfinex’s reimbursement plan to clients after an exploit in 2016. 

The contentious article had some paragraphs that focused on Harborne and his Company during the publication. For instance, it showed Harborne and AML Global’s application for a Signature Bank Account.

However, the Journal removed such content from the article on February 21 and included an editor’s note.

It took the action before Harborne’s recent lawsuit.

The Editor’s Note reads:

A previous version of this article included a section regarding Christopher Harborne and AML Global, which applied for an account at Signature Bank. The section has been removed to avoid any potential implication that AML’s attempt to open an account there was part of an effort by Tether, Bitfinex, or related companies to mislead banks or that Harborne or AML withheld or falsified information during the application process.

Reacting to the lawsuit, a WSJ spokesperson explained that the Journal removed the content after reviewing its editorial standards. 

The Spokesperson stated:

More than nine months after the article was published, counsel for Mr. Harborne and AML Global contacted us to dispute the five paragraphs that included reporting about them. Following our review, we removed this section from our article and appended an Editor’s Note in accordance with our editorial standards. The lawsuit they filed against Dow Jones is itself replete with inaccuracies and distortions. We take our journalistic responsibilities seriously, and we intend to mount a robust legal defense.

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