XRP lawsuit: Will this extend SEC’s woes and set the game for Ripple?

Lavina Daryanani
Source: The Cryptonomist

The SEC v. Ripple lawsuit has been going on since the end of 2020, yet fresh developments with respect to rulings, filings, and evidence gathering keep taking place on a consistent basis.

William Hinman’s [former director of the SEC’s division of corporate finance] speech from 2018 where he claimed that Ethereum ain’t security has been quite a pivotal part of the case. Now, per a document discovered by corruption watchdog Empower Oversight, the ex-SEC exec was bound by conflict of interest and owing to the same, he had stepped the line when he made the speech in 2018.

Using the same speech in their stride, the defendants have time and again asked the Commission to draw a line of distinction between the Ripple’s XRP and ETH. In fact, the judge has also deemed the speech to be very “relevant” to the case.

Hinman under the bus?

Per Empower Oversight, Hinman shouldn’t have spoken about Ethereum because of his undisclosed “direct financial interest” with the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett law firm. The firm, as such, is a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and fosters the use of blockchain tech on Ethereum. The watchdog claimed,

“…the SEC’s Ethics Office cautioned Mr. Hinman that he had a direct financial interest in his former law firm, Simpson Thacher, and thus, he needed to recuse himself from any matters that would affect the firm.”

Per attorney John Deaton, Hinman’s alleged non-compliance to the conflict of interest could menace the SEC’s entire case against Ripple. If the watchdog’s contention indeed holds true, Deaton said that the case could be “game set and match” for Ripple.

He further added that the Ethics Office would be “pissed” at Hinman and “want to throw him under the bus.

Empower Oversight has requested an official investigation—into the potentially serious breakdown in ethics control at the SEC—to be conducted.