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Bitcoin-Rigging Criminal Probe Focused on Tie to Tether

  • DOJ investigating whether Tether was used to prop up Bitcoin
  • U.S. case part of broader review of possible coin manipulation
Jeff Sessions, U.S. attorney general, sits past the Department of Justice seal during an event on actions to combat the opioid crisis in the Great Hall at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. President Donald Trump yesterday signed the bipartisan legislation, H.R. 6, which dedicates more resources to fight the opioid crisis.
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
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As Bitcoin plunges, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether last year’s epic rally was fueled in part by manipulation, with traders driving it up with Tether -- a popular but controversial digital token.

While federal prosecutors opened a broad criminal probe into cryptocurrencies months ago, they’ve recently homed in on suspicions that a tangled web involving Bitcoin, Tether and crypto exchange Bitfinex might have been used to illegally move prices, said three people familiar with the matter.