By Elise Hansen. May 16, 2022. (Law360)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission can’t use attorney-client privilege to shield early drafts of former official Bill Hinman’s speech about cryptocurrencies, since Hinman gave the speech in his personal capacity, Ripple Labs told a New York federal court.
Attorney-client privilege doesn’t cover communications about Hinman’s personal remarks, and Hinman can’t be considered a “client” of the SEC’s attorneys for activities outside his official duties, Ripple and its executives argued Friday.
The letter was the latest shot in the discovery battle between the SEC and Ripple after the agency accused the blockchain-based payments company and its executives of violating federal securities laws in their sales of Ripple’s signature digital asset, XRP.
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By Chris Dolmetsch. July 15, 2021. (Bloomberg)
Ripple Labs Inc. can question a former Securities and Exchange Commission official about the agency’s policy decisions as the company fights a lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors about its XRP cryptocurrency, a federal judge ruled.
The SEC sued Ripple, co-founder Christian Larsen and Chief Executive Officer Bradley Garlinghouse in New York last year, saying they had created a “vacuum” that allowed them to sell XRP into a market with limited information they chose to share. The agency alleges that the two men personally profited by about $600 million and ignored legal advice that the cryptocurrency could be considered an investment contract and therefore a security. It accused them of selling the virtual tokens without registering them as such.
Ripple has said the SEC can’t regulate XRP because, as a virtual currency used in international and domestic transactions, it’s a medium of exchange and not a security.
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