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SEC taps British court to acquire deposition from former Telegram chief investment advisor

The Securities and Exchange Commission is trying to acquire a deposition from Telegram’s former chief investment advisor regarding the messaging app’s $1.7 billion token sale in 2018.

Image: Unsplash

Sun, 08 Dec 2019, 10:13 am UTC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has asked the U.S. court to send a Letter of Request to the Senior Master of the High Court to acquire a deposition from a U.K. citizen. The citizen in question is John Hyman, the former chief investment advisor of Telegram.

The SEC has obtained a trove of documents regarding Hyman and his involvement during Telegram’s $1.7 billion token sale last year. Hyman’s role during the sale was extensive as he has directly communicated with buyers, facilitated transactions, and updated clients on their investment towards Telegram’s blockchain project, CoinDesk reported.

The SEC said that Hyman was cooperating with them initially through his counsel, Greg Campbell, adding that he was willing to provide a deposition on the on-going investigation. But communication halted completely in recent months forcing the SEC to tap the British court.

SEC seeks more evidence

The regulatory agency has a lot of questions for Hyman ranging from fundraising tactics and client communication to his role in Telegram and his own investment towards grams, the messaging app’s token. The SEC is still maintaining that grams is a security but Telegram is adamantly refuting the classification.

“[The SEC’s] claims are without merit as Telegram’s private placement to highly sophisticated, accredited investors were conducted pursuant to valid exemptions to registration under the federal securities laws and Grams will not be securities when they are created at the time of launch of the TON Blockchain. Grams…will constitute a currency and/or commodity — not securities under the federal securities laws,” Telegrams said.

SEC and Telegram to meet in court in February

The messaging app also accused the regulatory body of improperly implementing the law towards the crypto market, adding that the SEC failed to provide clear guidance as to what constitutes a violation. The SEC, however, is pursuing the case and is slated to acquire the deposition of three Telegram employees, including Telegram CEO Pavel Durov.

The earliest deposition will be acquired on Dec. 10, with Telegram employee Shyam Parekh the first one to provide evidence on the case. As for when grams will be released, Telegram pushed back its launching to April 30 and it will be meeting the SEC in court on Feb. 18 to 19.

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