The CEO of Binance has sued Bloomberg Inc. for defamation after one of its articles claimed that he was conducting a Ponzi scheme.
Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, filed a lawsuit against Modern Media CL., the publisher of Bloomberg Businessweek in Hong Kong, on Monday, alleging defamation. Zhao, the richest crypto millionaire in the world, said in his lawsuit that the newspaper had falsely accused him of conducting a “Ponzi scheme.” The lawsuit claimed that the headline of the piece, which was a translation from Chinese, was misinterpreted.
On June 23, “Can Crypto’s Richest Man Stand the Cold?” appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek. Chinese translation was provided by Modern Media, a Hong Kong-based independent licensee of Bloomberg content. It did so, though, with a different headline. Zhao’s spokesman said that the headline will cause “hate, scorn, and ridicule” for the leader of the cryptocurrency exchange. The English translation of the Chinese title is “Zhao Changpeng’s Ponzi Scheme.”
Zhao’s legal team requested that Modern Media change the headline and remove all printed copies from newsstands. Zhao also requested a restraining order to prevent the publication from continuing to distribute the inaccurate portrayal. The Modern Media has partially acceded to his requests. Zhao, though, didn’t stop there. In response to “defamatory claims” in the article, he filed a move for discovery against Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Inc. separately in the US.
Zhao noted the negative portrayal of Binance as “sketchy” in the official request submitted in the US, attributing it to an unidentified trader who called Binance a “huge shitcoin casino” in the quotation. He said that these phrases “were plainly meant to deceive readers into believing” that he was breaking the law in the profile article.
Nevertheless, Binance has done this before. 2020 saw Binance file a lawsuit against Forbes for allegedly libellous allegations made in a piece. The cryptocurrency exchange then made a strategic investment in Forbes while dropping the accusations made in a lawsuit from last year. Zhao had already filed a lawsuit in court for slander against venture capital company Sequoia.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article suggested that Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, had filed a lawsuit against Bloomberg and its Hong Kong publication. Zhao has only submitted a petition for discovery; no lawsuit has been filed. To reflect the changes, the article has been updated.