Binance CEO sues Hong Kong publisher Bloomberg for defamation

Binance CEO is not happy Bloomberg.

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao sues Bloomberg Businessweekit is Hong Kong-based publisher Modern Media, along with its affiliated Twitter and Facebook accounts, for three allegedly defamatory statements published earlier this month.

According to a copy of the case filed Friday in the High Court of Hong Kong and obtained by DecryptZhao sues Modern Media for its translated version into Chinese of Bloomberg US article, “Can Crypto’s Richest Man Stand the Cold?”

Zhao seeks damages because the Chinese edition of Bloomberg Businessweek wrote in print and online a phrase that translates to “Zhao Changpeng’s Ponzi Scheme”. Zhao is also suing the publication for reusing that phrase twice more in corresponding Twitter and Facebook posts promoting his profile story.

Binance representatives said Decrypt that Zhao’s deposit is “a personal suit” unaffiliated with the crypto exchange.

A Bloomberg News representative responded to Decrypt‘s request for comment with the following statement: “We understand that Binance has filed a lawsuit against Modern Media, a China-based company that publishes a Chinese-language edition of Bloomberg Businessweek and published a translated version of a Businessweek article that was first published on June 23. The lawsuit refers to a headline that was not published in the original English version of the story.

Zhao’s Hong Kong filing argues that the published statements “were calculated to hold [Zhao] to hatred, contempt and ridicule.

“They tended to drop [Zhao] in the estimation of well-meaning members of society in general, in particular members (existing or potential) of the crypto community and business counterparts (existing or potential) of [Zhao]“says the file.

According to the lawsuit, the CEO’s legal counsel also argued that the statements were “sensationally published.”

Meanwhile, according to a memorandum of law filed in New York on Friday regarding the Hong Kong case, Zhao’s legal counsel alleged that the original English version of the article also contained defamatory statements.

The New York documents claim that the original article “contained several serious and defamatory allegations made against Zhao and Binance that were completely unfounded and were manifestly designed to mislead readers into believing that Zhao and Binance were engaged in illegal or disreputable”.

Specifically, the New York case challenges Bloomberg posting that “at Binance, completeness has a certain completeness” and that Binance is “a huge shitcoin casino” – statements that Zhao considers defamatory.

“While most journalists[s] at Bloomberg are good, but this time it was bad,” Zhao said of the article in June.

In Hong Kong, Zhao is seeking an injunction prohibiting the publication from republishing the allegedly defamatory statements, as well as the removal and recall of the statements as well as damages and costs.

This is not the first time that Zhao has sued a media outlet for defamation. In 2020, Zhao filed a lawsuit versus Forbes in the USA.

He sued the publication and two journalists because a Forbes article claimed that Binance has an “elaborate corporate structure designed to intentionally mislead regulators and surreptitiously profit from crypto investors in the United States.

Zhao then dropped this lawsuit.

The executive took to Twitter on Friday with a post that likely refers to the Hong Kong file.

“Be accountable for your actions,” he wrote.

Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication to include comments from a Bloomberg News representative and to clarify that the target of the Hong Kong lawsuit is Modern Media.

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