Brazil: Tether's New Banking Partner Deltec Suspected of Accepting Laundered Funds
Tether’s new Bahamas-based banking partner is possibly involved in $25 million money laundering case being investigated by federal prosecutors in Sao Paulo.
Brazilian law enforcement has solicited the help of Bahamian authorities to investigate suspicious transactions to Deltec Bank & Trust – the recently-announced new banking partner of controversial stablecoin Tether (USDT) – major Brazilian newspaper O Globo reports Nov. 6.
As per the report, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in São Paulo is on the trail of Paulo Vieira de Souza, a former director of the São Paulo road infrastructure company DERSA. De Souza is currently being prosecuted for bribery in the infamous Odebrecht case, characterized by the U.S. government as “the largest foreign bribery case in history.”
As explained by O Globo, the head of DERSA allegedly transferred a total of 25 million Swiss francs (approximately $25 million) to the accounts of Panama-based offshore company Nantes Group, which were apparently operated by a private Swiss bank Bordier & Cie. De Souza himself appeared as a beneficiary of those accounts.
However, the report states, prosecutors suspect that Nantes Group was not the final destination for the laundered sum. In February 2017, the amount was reportedly transferred to accounts in Deltec Bank & Trust, with headquarters in Bahamian capital Nassau — the very same bank that recently partnered with the team behind controversial USD-backed stablecoin Tether.
According to O Globo, Brazilian prosecutors are now waiting for a response from Bahamas officials to learn if the mentioned amount actually found its way to Deltec Bank & Trust. The newspaper also notes that Brazil has successfully collaborated with the Bahamas in money laundering cases before.
Tether announced its partnership with Deltec Bank & Trust Ltd. shortly after reportedly parting ways with Puerto Rico’s Noble Bank International. Noble Bank had also allegedly held accounts for major crypto exchange Bitfinex, who shares a CEO with Tether.
The troubled stablecoin has continuously been rumoured to lack the necessary cash reserves to back all of its 1.7 billion circulating tokens 1:1 with the U.S. dollar – though the legitimacy of the coin has been unofficially confirmed, the firm has failed to complete a public audit by a third party.
Announcing its partnership with the Bahamas-based bank last week, Tether stated that it had passed the bank’s due diligence processing. According to stablecoin team, the process proved their “ability to maintain the USD-peg at any moment.”