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Possibly, as an attempt to cover their tracks.
Then again, with blockchain technology, that's kind of a silly idea.
If tether is tied to the U.S. Dollar, then buying bitcoin with dollars would have given them a much better chance of keeping this manipulation a secret.
The much more depressing fact is that there pretty much isn't an asset that is traded anywhere on the planet where market actors don't try to manipulate price action.
If you've got multi million dollars riding on an asset price going a certain way, as the big players do, then usually you will also try to influence price action in your favour.
Much of this is illegal, and so you sometimes read about financial intitutions being fined for market manipulation, such as the LIBOR scandal etc. But the ones who get caught doing this kind of thing are barely even the upper bit of the tip of the iceberg. I would go as far as saying that any price of any publicly traded asset, anywhere on the planet at any given time, is the result of market manipulation.
The reason why you don't hear that much about it all the time is that either a market manipulation is shrouded in enough secrecy to make investigation near impossible, or that the big players, who often have supreme connections to lawmakers, have succeeded in keeping or making it legal in the first place.
I will take off my tinfoil hat now.