On Monday, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao filed a defamation lawsuit against Bloomberg Businessweek in the Hong Kong High Court.
The suit is filed over an article published by Bloomberg Businessweek US on June 26, titled, “Can Crypto’s Richest Man Stand the Cold?” In Hong Kong, Businessweek’s Chinese edition publisher Modern Media CL ran the same version of the article with a different title that translates to “Zhao Changpeng’s Ponzi Scheme” in both print and digital editions.
According to Zhao’s representatives, the publisher intends to prompt “hatred, contempt and ridicule” for the richest man in crypto by reusing the piece twice in a sensational manner across social media channels, namely Twitter and Facebook.
“They tended to lower [Zhao] in the estimation of right-thinking members of society in general, in particular the members (existing or potential) of the crypto community and commercial counterparties (existing or potential) of [Zhao],”
the filing reads.
Another filing in New York related to the Hong Kong case, as per the Memorandum of Law, claims the original English version of the story also had malicious intent.
The US version of the article “contained several serious and defamatory allegations made against Zhao and Binance that were completely unsubstantiated, and were obviously designed to mislead readers into believing that Zhao and Binance have been engaging in illegal or unsavory activities.”
Statements such as “at Binance the sketchiness has a certain completeness to it” and “a massive shitcoin casino” – comment passed as an anonymous quote from a trader – are specifically highlighted in the documents.
Zhao is demanding a retraction of the piece from the newsstands and digital channels in Hong Kong and a ruling to restrict the publication from ever republishing the article.
In 2019, Zhao had filed a defamation case against VC firm Sequoia. A year later, in 2020, he sued Forbes US over defamatory and illicit comments.
These aggressive actions clearly indicate an active image protection strategy for Zhao and Binance.