Terraform Precedent: SEC Challenges Ripple’s Fine Appeal

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Terraform Precedent: SEC Challenges Ripple's Fine Appeal
  • The SEC has responded to Ripple’s letter concerning the judgment in the TFL case.
  • In the letter, the SEC cited a potential penalty of $102.6 million from Ripple.
  • The figure marks a significant reduction from the initial $2 billion request.

In the ongoing legal battle between Ripple and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulator has responded to Ripple’s challenge regarding the proposed $2 billion fine. The SEC’s response, filed on Friday, further clarified its stance on the issue, drawing upon a recent settlement in another high-profile case involving Terraform Labs.

The regulator issued the reply on Friday in a letter to District Judge Analisa Torres, as noted by defense lawyer James Filan on X platform (formerly Twitter).

For context, on June 13, Ripple submitted a letter to support its opposition to the SEC’s earlier $2 billion fine recommendation. Ripple highlighted that, according to the TFL Consent Judgment, the defendant agreed to a settlement involving $3.58 billion in disgorgement and a $420 million civil penalty.

Ripple contended that this penalty equates to 1.27% of TFL’s $33 billion in gross sales, a figure significantly lower than what the SEC is demanding from Ripple. Additionally, Ripple pointed out that while the TFL case involved two fraudulent schemes resulting in a $40 billion loss, the court found no fraud in Ripple’s case.

In the Friday letter, the SEC countered that the TFL consent judgment resulted from a settlement, which has limited value in determining remedies. The SEC argued that Ripple failed to consider several factors, such as TFL’s bankruptcy, the destruction of keys to its crypto wallet, and the reimbursement of investors’ losses. The regulator stated:

“The SEC took all these factors into account when agreeing to the settlement and cited them as relevant for the court’s approval under applicable law.”

Moreover, the SEC noted that Ripple did not agree to any of the terms cited in the TFL case. The regulator argued that the TFL settlement is irrelevant for determining Ripple’s penalties, stating that Ripple has not admitted to any violation of securities laws and alleging it continues to engage in similar conduct.

Furthermore, the SEC criticized Ripple’s comparison of TFL’s $420 million civil penalty to its $33 billion in gross sales. The SEC argued that the penalty should be compared to TFL’s gross profit of $3.587 billion, resulting in a ratio of 11.7%. Applying this ratio to Ripple’s gross profits of $876.3 million would result in a potential penalty of $102.6 million, far exceeding the $10 million limit Ripple insists on.

Following the SEC’s revised calculations, members of the XRP community speculated that the SEC vs. Ripple case might be heading toward a settlement.

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