Tether has found a new Bahamas-based banking partner — the third Bahamas-based bank that the $82 billion stablecoin has relied on for housing its assets, reports Bloomberg.
The little-known Britannia Bank & Trust, which is part of the Britannia Financial group, joins Deltec Bank & Trust and Capital Union Bank on the company’s list of banking partners that are based in the island nation.
While it’s unclear exactly why Tether has leaned so heavily on The Bahamas to provide its banking services, it could have something to do with the cryptocurrency-friendly DARE Act regulating the cryptocurrency industry in the country or the personal connection between Deltec CEO Jean Chalopin and Tether’s executive leadership (Giancarlo Devasini, CFO of Tether, owns a house next door to Chalopin).
Tether and Britannia
While on the surface Tether teaming up with Britannia makes sense because the stablecoin provider has almost exclusively banked with Caribbean banks, a more meaningful connection appears to be between Digifinex investor Christopher Harborne (aka Chakrit Sakunkrit) and Britannia’s billionaire founders.
Harborne, who Protos previously reported as a major shareholder in Tether and number one donor to the UK Independence Party (UKIP), shifted his allegiance in 2022 to the Conservative Party, donating over $20 million.
Interestingly, Britannia Financial Group is also a major Conservative donor, giving the party almost $800,000 since 2019.
This means that, at least politically, Tether’s banking partners and shareholders are in agreement.
Former Britannia chairman’s odd financial history
The billionaire founding chairman of Britannia Financial Group, Venezuelan-Italian Julio Herrera, has an interesting financial history — of particular infamy is his recent attempt to bribe the governor of Puerto Rico. There have been no updates on the case since Herrera pled not guilty to the charges in August of 2022.
Herrera and his son have stepped down from Britannia Financial Group — along with almost every other UK company they were associated with — and fired the group of auditors they shared with Tether, BDO. The 27-year-old Herrera Junior was expected to retain control.
The family also remains one of the largest landowners in Venezuela and operates one of the most important Spanish-language newspapers in America, Diario Las Américas. According to their own lore, they controlled 70% of the Venezuelan Central Bank until 1989.
It’s unknown how much of Tether’s $100 million in liquid cash or billions in other assets are being kept at Britannia Bank & Trust, but it’s unlikely to be all of it.