Venezuela's Central Bank Files Lawsuit to Shut Down Black Market Currency Website DolarToday for Falsifying Exchange Rates
Offshore Company Deliberately Worsening Conditions to Undermine the
The Central Bank of Venezuela, represented by law firm Squire Patton
Boggs, today filed suit in U.S. District Court to halt the operation of
DolarToday LLC, an offshore website that allegedly misrepresents and
falsifies Venezuela’s national currency rates in an attempt to further
destabilize the country’s economy.
According to the suit, DolarToday fabricates black market exchange rates
that it publishes via the company’s website and smartphone applications.
The rates published by the website do not represent any official
Venezuelan fiscal policy.
The lawsuit alleges that DolarToday is damaging Venezuela’s economy by
exacerbating inflationary pressures, diminishing the purchasing power of
the Venezuelan people and undermining the authority of the Central Bank.
Venezuelan business representatives said they filed the suit because
they consider the use of technology from outside the country to weaken
their nation’s economy a form of cyber-terrorism. They believe
DolarToday’s activities are intended to harm national financial
institutions and impose greater hardship on its citizens in a time of
Venezuela’s economy has suffered from inflation amid collapsing sales of
crude oil, the nation’s primary export. The central bank’s lawsuit
alleges that the owners of DolarToday, in addition to fomenting unrest
in Venezuela, are also reaping personal financial gain from the currency
manipulation espoused by the website.
Named defendants include Gustavo Díaz Vivas, formerly a colonel in the
Venezuelan Army who is associated with previous attempts at overthrowing
the Venezuelan government and who is now living under political asylum
in Hoover, Alabama. Also named as defendants are Ivan Dario
Lozada-Salas, a Venezuelan native who lives in Sammamish, Washington,
and José Enrique Altuve Lozada, a native Venezuelan and cousin of Lozada
who resides in Doral, Florida.
The complaint charges that the defendants “seek only to grab riches and
power for themselves and their friends, willingly increasing the
hardships of ordinary Venezuelans in the process.” It notes that the
intent of the website is to frighten the Venezuelan populace who elected
the Republic’s current government, hoping that voters “will turn on
their leaders, and blame them for the harm caused by defendants” and
usher in a new government that will enable the defendants and their
allies further enrich themselves.
The lawsuit alleges Altuve updates the DT Rate on the website often
several times daily and directs or helps direct the DT Site’s movement
to mirror sites in order to evade attempts by Venezuela to block it from
view in that country.
The lawsuit does not seek to shut down the website. Instead, the
complaint asks the U.S. District Court to order defendants to stop
publishing their exchange rate. It also asks for defendants to forfeit
their financial gain from currency manipulation and place it in a trust
for the Venezuelan people, pay treble punitive damages under the U.S.
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and pay the
Central Bank’s litigation fees related to the lawsuit.
“Arbitrarily manufacturing currency exchange rates creates further
turmoil in a country that is working to overcome the obstacles it
already faces in sustaining its economy,” said Adam Fox, a Squire Patton
Boggs attorney representing the Central Bank in the case. “In seeking to
manipulate global markets by subverting government fiscal policy,
DolarToday unlawfully hinders Venezuela’s ability to manage its economic
DolarToday operates through a limited liability company that is
organized in Delaware.
For more information or a copy of the complaint, please contact Adam Fox
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