Since the beginning of 2020, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has collected more than $ 4.68 billion in fines and confiscated illegal proceeds. More than a quarter of this amount came from Telegram.
This was announced by Stephanie Avakian, head of the SEC’s digital asset enforcement department, adding that $ 4.68 billion is the highest amount of fines in the entire history of the department.
Of the amount collected by the SEC, $ 1.26 was paid by the organizers of the unregistered ICOs. Moreover, almost the entire amount falls on Telegram, which was accused by the Commission of illegally carrying out the ICO of the TON project. Last October, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Telegram, claiming that Gram tokens are securities. It all ended with the court blocking their distribution for all investors, and in May 2020 Pavel Durov announced the termination of work on the Telegram Open Network (TON) platform. Telegram agreed to return $ 1.2 billion to investors and pay a fine of $ 18.5 million.
Last year, the SEC also filed a complaint against the Kik messenger for selling unregistered KIN tokens in violation of US law. The parties came to an agreement, under which Kik is obliged to pay a fine of $ 5 million. In the course of litigation with cryptocurrency projects Bitclave, Shopin, NAC Foundation, Unikrn, Boon Tech and Bitcoiin2Gen, the agency confiscated about $ 40 million. However, the case with the NAC Foundation has not yet been completed as the fund filed a motion to the San Francisco Supreme Court to dismiss the SEC’s complaint, arguing that the Commission had misled the court.
According to the SEC report, in total, the Commission opened 715 cases, and also took independent enforcement actions against 405 firms. They were accused of illegal placement of securities, insider trading, market manipulation and violations of the Foreign Corruption Act.
Of the $ 4.68 billion received by the SEC, $ 600 million was returned to affected investors. As part of the SEC’s crime detection and investor protection program, 39 whistleblowers received awards totaling $ 175 million, and three weeks ago the agency awarded one whistleblower in the amount of $ 114 million.
Note that this month the SEC increased the limits for raising funds by companies without registering an investment prospectus, which will make it easier for them to place stock tokens (STO).