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Terraform Labs Advocates for $1M Fine in SEC Lawsuit, Opposes Disgorgement

ByDayne Lee

May 1, 2024
Terraform Labs Advocates for $1M Fine in SEC Lawsuit, Opposes Disgorgement

Terraform Labs Advocates for $1M Fine in SEC Lawsuit, Opposes Disgorgement

Terraform Labs and its co-founder, Do Kwon, are embroiled in a significant legal battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Following a jury verdict that found them liable for fraud, the focus has now shifted to the penalties to be imposed.

On April 5, after a two-week trial, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found Terraform and Kwon guilty of defrauding investors. The SEC has proposed a staggering $5.3 billion in disgorgement and civil penalties. However, Terraform Labs is pushing back hard against this proposal.

Terraform’s Opposition to SEC’s Proposal

In a detailed filing on April 26, Terraform’s legal team argued against the SEC’s request, suggesting that a more reasonable penalty would be a maximum of $1 million in civil penalties. They contended that the larger figure proposed by the SEC was not appropriate, as it involved funds from the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) — an entity not named in the lawsuit.

Terraform’s attorneys stated that pursuing disgorgement from LFG would require the SEC to have named LFG as a defendant, which it did not. They argued that the funds in question belonged to LFG, not Terraform Labs, and that Terraform had not received any of those funds directly.

Do Kwon’s Separate Filing

Do Kwon, also opposing the SEC’s penalties, argued in his filing that revealing complete details of his accounts and assets would violate his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. His legal stance highlights the complexities of the case, especially given his current inability to leave Montenegro due to legal restrictions.

As of now, Judge Jed Rakoff has not made a decision on the proposed penalties. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for the regulatory landscape of cryptocurrency firms operating globally. Kwon remains in Montenegro, with ongoing deliberations over extradition requests from both the U.S. and South Korea.

Broader Impact on the Crypto Industry

The case against Terraform Labs is being closely watched as it may set precedents for how similar cases are handled in the future. It underscores the increasing scrutiny of cryptocurrency operations by regulatory bodies worldwide, aiming to clamp down on fraudulent activities and enhance investor protection.

The battle between Terraform Labs and the SEC is far from over. The final penalties, whether they align more closely with Terraform’s proposal or the SEC’s, will send a strong message to the crypto industry about the consequences of regulatory non-compliance and fraud. The crypto community and investors are keenly observing the developments, as they could influence future regulatory actions and the overall stability of the cryptocurrency market.

Featured image credit: Rebeca Moen via Blockchain

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.

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