The US Securities Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit and received permission to suspend the ICO (initial offering of cryptocurrency denominated assets) of Telegram which belongs to Pavel Durov, the commission said. As part of the ICO, Mr. Durov’s company has already raised $ 1.7 billion. Now Telegram cannot sell or otherwise distribute its tokens in the United States.
The lawsuit was filed with the Manhattan Federal Court. According to the agency, the offshore companies Telegram Group and its “daughter” TON Issuer Inc began to raise funds for the development of the Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain platform in January last year. They managed to sell “approximately 2.9 billion Gram digital tokens at discounted prices to 171 original buyers worldwide, including more than 1 billion tokens to 39 US buyers.”
“Our urgent actions today are aimed at preventing Telegram from flooding in the American markets with tokens, which we claim were illegally sold,” Stephanie Avakyan, SEC Co-Director of the Department for Enforcement of Decisions, quoted the commission in a statement. She noted that the defendants did not provide their investors with “information regarding Gram tokens and business transactions, financial conditions, risk factors and Telegram management, as required by securities laws.”
SEC Co-Head of Law Enforcement Stephen Paykin said that companies will not be able to avoid enforcing federal securities laws by “simply calling their products cryptocurrencies or digital tokens.”
Entrepreneur David Yakobashvili, who invested about $ 10 million in the project, told that he was not aware of the SEC’s decision to suspend the placement of Telegram. “I don’t think (there are risks for the investment). I hope that everything will be fine” – said the businessman.
Earlier, market participants told that Telegram could launch its Gram cryptocurrency ahead of schedule – next few weeks. The company promised to finalize the project by October 31. And on Tuesday, the Grams cryptocurrency wallet rules appeared on the official messenger website. They say that the messenger does not give any guarantees to customers. Telegram does not compensate for possible losses in excess of $ 10. All operations with cryptocurrency will go through the TON blockchain platform, but the company warns that they do not control the platform, so there may be problems with transactions.