TON vs. SEC: Telegram will provide insight into money movements

In the dispute over the planned blockchain network Telegram Open Network (TON), the SEC was unable to force any insight into the financial flows of the messaging provider Telegram. A corresponding urgent request was rejected on January 6 by the responsible New York court. Instead, Telegram should announce a schedule by January 9, by which time it can present bank details and transactions relevant to the taking of evidence.

4,600 TON-relevant transactions

According to a document released on January 9th, it will take Telegram several weeks to provide the bank details. The reason: A large number of transactions in connection with the planned TON project have taken place with people and entities abroad. Therefore, the clarification of data protection directives is in the foreground.

According to the lawyer of the messaging provider, this involves a total of around 4,600 transactions with 650 individuals and 120 legal entities. The question of the legal area was only clarified in 76 cases.

The 76 companies or individuals for whom we have made preliminary judgments regarding their jurisdiction appear to imply 12 foreign jurisdictions for which certain data protection analyzes have been performed in the course of our previous work, two foreign jurisdictions for which no applicable data protection analyzes have yet been carried out.

According to Telegram lawyers, it will take another five to seven weeks to determine the relevant legal areas and to review the respective data protection regulations.

Telegram: “Time-consuming and unnecessary”

Telegram, however, only grudges against the verdict. In the meantime, the company insists that this effort is not expedient to clarify whether the planned GRAM token is a security or not.

However, this question is the linchpin in the litigation with the SEC. The latter accuses the messaging provider of selling unregistered securities to investors in 2018 by selling SAFTs (Simple Agreement for Future Tokens) for the planned GRAM token. The SEC hopes to gain insight into the use of investor funds from the insight into finance. Ultimately, it is about answering the question of whether the grams that are to be generated and distributed to investors when TON is launched meet the criteria of the Howey test for securities.

Telegram, however, questions this logic. This can be seen in a statement that Telegram sent to the responsible judge in connection with the schedule.

The defendants respectfully claim that this time-consuming effort is unnecessary in this case given the narrow legal issues.

As justification, Telegram states that the bank data did not reveal anything about the expectations that investors had when selling the SAFTs. The justified profit expectation is another criterion of the Howey test.

The defendant’s bank information simply does not help clarify this question, nor does it say anything about what buyers can or should have been expected to do,

says the Telegram lawyers.

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