The Telegram and SEC appealed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with a request to consider their case expedited and also announced their positions in this dispute.
The messenger team claims that within 18 months before the lawsuit was filed, Telegram communicated with the regulator and was ready to make some changes to the project, but they did not receive sufficient feedback from the SEC.
According to Telegram, the ban imposed by the SEC contradicts its statements about the desire to cooperate with technology companies developing digital assets.
Telegram accused the SEC of the fact that the regulator could not provide precise regulation in this area, as well as the publication of private correspondence between Telegram representatives and investors.
Telegram also stated that it took many actions to ensure that Gram is not resold by investors participating in the preliminary rounds of the ICO. In particular, Telegram made an obligation from investors not to resell Gram until the official launch of the TON project. Moreover, in January 2018, Pavel Durov publicly asked the company to inform about all offers to purchase Gram from third parties.
Telegram also believes that even if Gram was trading, this would still not be enough to classify Gram tokens as securities, since after its launch, the price of the cryptocurrency will depend on the market, and not on the actions of Telegram developers.
The SEC’s Position
The US Securities and Exchange Commission insists that investors wanted to make a profit before the official launch of TON. At the same time, the Telegram team was aware of the secondary market and was interested in the situation.
According to the SEC, Durov’s team regularly asked investors if they received offers to resell tokens, and then passed the information to the president and vice president of Telegram.
Also, the SEC accuses Telegram of directly selling Grams after the end of two rounds of pre-ICO.
In March 2018, the SEC received a notification from Telegram about attracting $850 million from investors, but this figure was $490 million. One of the top managers of Telegram said in its testimonies that the claimed $850 million are sales contracts.
The SEC also announced the conclusion of an agreement between Telegram and the Russian broker Aton in June 2018. Aton agreed to provide Telegram with investors in exchange for 10% of this investment. Under this agreement, Telegram paid Aton at least $1.2 million in compensation.