Home News SEC must surrender Hinman email on Ether to Ripple

SEC must surrender Hinman email on Ether to Ripple


Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn ordered the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to hand over to Ripple an email with a draft of a speech by former director of the regulator’s corporate finance department William Hinman. In which he stated that Ethereum is not a security. Lawyer James Filan announced this.

We are talking about Hinman’s speech at the Yahoo Finance conference in June 2018. Then the former official said that for various reasons Bitcoin and Ethereum are not securities. In addition, he did not mention the XRP token.

For the past few months, the SEC and Ripple have been debating what information to disclose as part of the lawsuit. The lawyers of the fintech company demanded to provide a number of documents; including internal SEC reports on the content of speeches and other public communications.

The deliberative process privilege

Commission officials insisted that these documents were subject to the privileges of the deliberative process privilege (DPP). This is a principle of law that allows the regulator to refuse to disclose papers or give evidence, referring to the confidentiality of data and sources.

In her ruling, Netburn agreed that indeed the DPP protected some documents. However, this principle cannot be applied to other records, in particular, to the email with Hinman’s speech.

“The personal views of agency employees are not protected by the privilege unless they bear on ‘the formulation or exercise of policy-oriented judgment,” they are not protected by the DPP. Accordingly, emails concerning speech or its draft versions do not precede decision-making and are not advisory documents that are subject to protection,” the judge ruled.

A “slow-moving court procedure”

Netburn also ordered the SEC to provide Ripple with some records of meetings of agency employees with third parties. For example, the company will have access to the transcript of the meeting of officials with representatives of ConsenSys in 2016.

Recall that Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, allowed a successful resolution of the dispute with the SEC in 2022. Despite a “slow-moving court procedure,” Garlinghouse noted the progress in the case. He told CNBC that the Ripple lawsuit will most likely resolve in 2022.

“Clearly, the judge is asking good questions,” Garlinghouse said, adding that “the judge understands this isn’t just about Ripple; this will have larger repercussions.”

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