Binance has filed litigation against Bloomberg Businessweek at the Southern District of New York District Court because of defamatory statements against the company and its founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ).
The filing concerns an article published on June 23, titled, “Can Crypto’s Richest Man Stand the Cold?” covering the onset of crypto winter and Binance’s recent struggles with regulators.
CZ has not made a public statement about the filing but did retweet a tweet on the matter. However, shortly after the story was published, CZ slammed the media outlet, saying the pitch was changed last minute and the content cherry-picked to paint him and the company negatively.
Bloomberg: hey, we will do a nice profile piece on you, invite you for photoshoots, etc. Then switches the story last minute. Ignore all positive comments they got from 3rd parties. Picked only old negatives. And still puts you on the cover. WTF!? Unprofessional.
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) June 24, 2022
What are the defamatory statements against Binance and its founder?
According to the filing, the Bloomberg article made numerous unsubstantiated defamatory statements that were “obviously designed to mislead readers into believing that Binance and Zhao had been engaging in illegal or unsavory activities.” It gave the following examples:
- Allegations that money laundering, fraud, and hacking are an integral part of the crypto industry’s history, and even reputable projects are “lightly dusted with sketch,” implying that Binance fits this description.
- Quoting an unnamed trader who said the exchange is “a massive shitcoin casino,” without providing a basis for the claim or identifying or verifying the identity of the anonymous trader.
- The statement, “[t]oday [Binance] is, simultaneously, an exchange, a brokerage, a savings bank, a venture capital investor, a data provider, and a “shitcoin casino” operator,” was made without substantiation.
The article was translated into Chinese
The Binance legal team also claimed that the subsequent translation of the article for the Chinese edition of Bloomberg Businessweek’s 250th issue further misled readers and added defamatory statements.
The Chinese edition is published under license to Hong Kong-listed Modern Media Holding Limited, now Meta Media Holdings Limited. The title of the Chinese version of the article was changed to read “ZHAO Changpeng’s Ponzi Scheme.”
Yet the piece offered no evidence that CZ was a party to any Ponzi scheme. The amended headline was also posted throughout Bloomberg Businessweek’s social channels.
Attempts to remedy this situation resulted in the Bloomberg Businessweek editor referring Binance to Modern Media. Subsequent contact with Modern Media led to deleting relevant social media posts and recalling physical copies of the article.
However, the 250th issue of the Chinese edition of Bloomberg Businessweek was still on sale across some websites, albeit with an amended title that read, “The
Mysterious Zhao Changpeng.”
Legal action was filed against Modern Media in Hong Kong for failing to fully action the remedial steps set out by Binance.
The filing in New York is an order for discovery from Bloomberg to “aid pending litigation.”