SEC asks judge to rule on Terra/Do Kwon case without full trial

abdelaziz Fathi

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has urged a New York judge to rule on its ongoing legal tussle against Do Kwon, the crypto entrepreneur and former CEO of Terraform Labs, even without a full trial.

Terraform founder Do Kwon

On Thursday, the commission submitted a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the evidence against Terraform Labs and its co-founder Do Kwon is so compelling that a trial is unnecessary.

The SEC’s motion, presented in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, hinges on that the facts of the case are “clear, undisputed and overwhelming”. This legal action, known as summary judgment, aims to expedite the resolution of the case by avoiding the complexities and uncertainties of a jury trial.

In the filing, the SEC paints a picture of a fraudulent scheme allegedly orchestrated by Terraform and Kwon, leading to a $45 billion market loss, with U.S. investors among those most affected. The allegations against Terraform involve the sale and offering of crypto asset securities, which the SEC claims were mostly unregistered transactions.

“In addition to defrauding investors, Defendants engaged in unregistered public offerings of certain of their crypto asset securities. Defendants distributed LUNA and MIR to intermediaries that were expected to, and did, resell those securities into public trading markets accessible to investors in the U.S.,” the filing reads.

This call for summary judgment follows the SEC’s rebuttal against a jury’s earlier, more lenient stance towards Kwon and his activities. The SEC’s narrative suggests Kwon played a crucial role in misleading investors by promoting Terra and its associated tokens, framing them as securities, which, according to the SEC, was part of the fraudulent operation.

“No rational jury could conclude that Kwon was not liable for Terraform’s violations of Exchange Act Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder pursuant to Exchange Act Section 20(a),” the SEC added.

Adding to Kwon’s legal woes, he was convicted by a Montenegrin court for possession of a forged Costa Rican passport. Meanwhile, Daniel Shin, the co-founder of Terraform, is facing his own set of legal battles in South Korea, with allegations ranging from fraud to capital markets law violations. Despite these charges, Shin’s lawyers argued that he was not responsible for the collapse of Terra.

Kwon’s lawyers also argue that it is impossible to bring him to the U.S. because he is detained indefinitely in Montenegro, and providing written testimony would violate his due process rights under the federal law.

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