Telegram Hit By New SEC Evidence Showing Token Trading After ICO
The SEC has produced new evidence in its case against Telegram, which shows that the company was engaged in trading Gram tokens several months after its initial coin offering (ICO).
Messaging app Telegram has been embroiled in a lawsuit with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission, which alleges that US$1.7 billion raised from the sale of Gram tokens between January and March 2018 should have been registered with the authority because the tokens constitute a security. Telegram has consistently refuted these claims and published a statement last week to address the ongoing case.
However, the SEC has produced damning new evidence, which shows that at least two entities invoiced Telegram for commission from selling Gram tokens in June and July of 2018, several months after its ICO ended. Investment fund Da Vinci Capital and Gem Limited, a Maltese-based firm, which was included in the Paradise Papers, requested commission of $209,783 and $1.1 million, respectively, for “subsequent sales” of Gram tokens.
According to the invoices presented by the SEC, Da Vinci Capital sold over US$2 million worth of Gram tokens to ITI Funds on June 20, 2018. Gem Limited sold US$8.6 million of Grams to Goliat Solutions and a further US$4.5 million to Space Investments Limited on July 2, 2018.
“These documents undermine Telegram’s claimed affirmative defense that the Offering was exempt under Regulation D. First, Telegram either raised more than the $1.7 billion for which it claimed an exemption, or it did not raise $1.7 billion as of March 29, 2018 and the later funds may have been raised through underwriters,” an SEC filing said. Regulation D is intended to prevent purchasers of tokens from acting as underwriters, meaning they essentially sell securities to the issuer for a commission.
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The SEC has successfully sought an injunction against Telegram, which will prevent it from launching its TON blockchain and Gram tokens until the case is resolved. Both parties will return to court on February 18 and 19.
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