Binance Drops Defamation Lawsuit Against Forbes Over ‘Tai Chi’ Document

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao speaks during Consensus. (CoinDesk archives)

Binance Holdings, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange,  has voluntarily dismissed a defamation lawsuit against Forbes Media LLC three months after filing it, public documents show. 

The exchange filed the suit against the century-old business publication in November alleging a story by reporter Michael del Castillo (formerly of CoinDesk) and contributor Jason Brett made false allegations. Binance sought to have Forbes pay damages and take down the article, but said in a Feb. 4, 2021, filing that it would voluntarily dismiss the case without prejudice (meaning it is free to bring another case on the same grounds later). 

The new filing did not say why Binance withdrew the lawsuit for now. A judge approved the dismissal the same day.

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At the heart of the suit was a story about the so-called “Tai Chi” document. The slide presentation obtained by Forbes allegedly described a plan to help Binance bypass U.S. regulations by using a U.S.-based entity to handle business in the country and send profits back to the parent firm. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, more commonly referred to as CZ, has repeatedly refused to answer questions about where his firm is currently headquartered. 

“Binance does not violate, and fully complies with, all applicable laws, rules and regulations in its operations. Binance does not seek to evade or ‘side-step’ any regulatory entities in any jurisdictions in connection with their role in ensuring that all laws, rules and regulations of their jurisdictions are complied with,” the lawsuit said.

One of Binance’s lawyers in the case is Charles Harder, who published a press release when the suit was filed. Harder is perhaps best known for representing pro wrestler Hulk Hogan in his suit against the website Gawker, ultimately leading to that media organization’s bankruptcy. 

In a statement, Forbes Chief Communications Officer Matthew Hutchison said, “As we said then, and as we reiterate now, we fully stand behind our exhaustive reporting.”

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Spokespeople for Binance did not immediately return requests for comment.

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