Small victory for Ripple in its never-ending lawsuit against the US Security Exchange Commission (SEC), thanks to the latest emails revealed by Empower Oversight showing that William Hinman acted with improper conduct, in full conflict of interest.
Ripple’s victory and the revelation of improper conduct for SEC officials
The non-profit organization Empower Oversight filed a FOIA request in August 2021 on suspicions of improper conduct by SEC officials regarding the XRP lawsuit that appears to have finally been answered.
It consists of no less than 200 pages of emails that the SEC has revealed showing how the former director of the US regulator’s corporate finance division, William Hinman, acted in violation of the conflict of interest several times.
Hinman met with Josh Bonnie, a partner at Simpson Thacher, at least three times after that warning. Hinman also met with the co-founders and investors in Ethereum ahead of a market-moving speech he gave in 2018 declaring the digital asset Ether to not be a security.
— Empower Oversight (@EMPOWR_us) April 8, 2022
“The documents show that the SEC ethics office cautioned former SEC official William Hinman that he had a direct financial interest in Simpson Thacher, yet Hinman continued to meet with the firm in spite of these warnings.
Hinman met with Josh Bonnie, a partner at Simpson Thacher, at least three times after that warning. Hinman also met with the co-founders and investors in Ethereum ahead of a market-moving speech he gave in 2018 declaring the digital asset Ether to not be a security”.
And indeed, Hinman in 2018 had intervened to say that Ethereum and Bitcoin should not be considered as security, putting doubt on XRP.
Ripple’s victory: the emails and Hinman’s conflict of interest
In the emails, Hinman explicitly warned that he could never meet with Simpson Thacher while in office, then promptly and repeatedly violates the rule.
Specifically, the January 2018 emails state that Hinman seeks permission to meet with Thacher in London, but the SEC ethics clerk of the day responds with an explicit and pointed warning.
The meeting between Hinman and Thacher, or any other type of contact such as a phone call, is a violation of the criminal financial code, as it is a serious optics issue.
In a roundup of tweets a few hours ago, James K. Filan, an XRP community member and lawyer, also commented on the situation:
#XRPCommunity #SECGov v #Ripple #XRP The court has granted the SEC’s motion and approved the SEC’s proposed redactions of the notes of the meetings between SEC employees and third parties. pic.twitter.com/hNKw97M6xv
— James K. Filan 🇺🇸🇮🇪90k+ (beware of imposters) (@FilanLaw) April 11, 2022
“BREAKING: The Court has denied the SEC’s Motion for Reconsideration of the DPP Ruling and granted the SEC’s request for clarification of that ruling.
This is a very big win for Ripple.
The SEC has 14 days to file an objection to this decision to District Judge Torres.
The court has granted the SEC’s motion and approved the SEC’s proposed redactions of the notes of the meetings between SEC employees and third parties”.
At large, Hinman’s emails have been highly criticized by legal experts who have shared their suspicions that these notes could destroy the SEC’s case against Ripple.
Price of XRP
Meanwhile, the price of XRP has been falling over the past week, dropping from $0.82 to $0.70 at the time of writing. A drop of 14%.
Despite the good news that could once and for all free the border transfer crypto from the SEC’s legal charges, XRP’s price seems to be following the trend of other major cryptocurrencies.
In fact, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) have also seen a 14% drop in price in one week.
With over 34 billion in total market capitalization, XRP remains among the top 10 crypto assets, ranking sixth, with a crypto market dominance of 1.84%.