Tether, the issuer of the world's largest stablecoin, and cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, both owned by the Hong Kong-based company iFinex Inc., have dropped their opposition to a New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, citing “commitment to responsible business practices and transparency” as the key reason. However, the companies explicitly stated that this did not mean a "wholesale release" of all their documents.

The Freedom of Information Law, FOIL, provides the public the right to access records maintained by government agencies with certain exceptions.

Coindesk had previously brought a FOIL request focusing on Tether's reserves. After two attempts to block the request, citing concerns over sensitive commercial information and customer data privacy, Tether eventually had to release documents this summer, produced during the New York Attorney General's investigation into allegations that USDT was not sufficiently backed between 2019 and 2021. The agreement reached with the New York Attorney General in that case included quarterly reports on Tether’s reserves for two years.

The latest FOIL request was brought shortly after the company completed its obligations under that agreement. It was brought by a group of New York journalists, including Zeke Faux, Shane Shifflett, and Ada Hui.

The details of the request were not disclosed, but it is likely that it is connected to the same proof of reserves as the previous one. Tether claims that certain behaviours of these journalists, especially of Zeke Faux whose previous work on Tether and Bitfinex "has extended beyond the boundaries of professional journalism," raise concerns regarding the nature of the request, but the companies are committed to transparency and believe that they have “nothing to hide.” 

“…we have also observed one-sided and inaccurate reporting from various media outlets… whose journalists are participating in this FOIL request. Our goal is to set a higher moral standard and lead by example.” 

The companies stressed that transparency “does not equate to unrestricted public disclosure of all documents,” and that constructive engagement on the matter requires adherence to ethical reporting standards and respect for data privacy boundaries. They also appealed for “responsible document review before any public release” of information. 

Lately, Tether has been rather cooperative with the authorities. Last week the company assisted the U.S. Department of Justice and Secret Service by freezing $225 million worth of USDT following an investigation into an international human trafficking syndicate in Southeast Asia. The company also mentioned that it had recently onboarded the U.S. Secret Service onto its platform and would be working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to do the same.

"These ongoing efforts exemplify Tether's proactive approach to supporting law enforcement initiatives."

The timing of the DoJ announcement coincided with the announcement of CZ and Binance's resolution with the DoJ which led to a number of wild theories, including the suggestion that Tether had snitched on CZ to save itself.

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