The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission scored a legal victory Thursday after a federal judge placed a preliminary injunction against a crypto startup, reversing a previous decision made last year.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel placed the injunction against Blockvest and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold III (otherwise known as Rasool Abdul Rahim El), Thursday citing the risk of future securities law violations based on "newly developed evidence," as well as evidence of past violations.
In his ruling, Curiel explained that after additional briefings and reviewing the evidence, Blockvest likely may have violated securities laws, placing a preliminary injunction on the startup and Ringgold (otherwise known as Rasool Abdul Rahim El), to prevent them from further violations. Ringgold did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Curiel wrote that "the Court finds reconsideration is warranted based upon a prima facie showing of Defendants’ past securities violation and newly developed evidence which supports the conclusion that there is a reasonable likelihood of future violations."
He later explained that this new evidence includes the fact that Ringgold's defense counsel moved to withdraw from representing him and his firm in the case because the defendants instructed the firm to "file certain documents that counsel could not certify" under federal rules.
The law firm, Corrigan & Morris LLP, went into further detail in its motion to withdraw, filed Dec. 27, 2018. According to the document, Ringgold failed to pay the firm for its work and has "levied serious accusations" against the lawyers working on his case.
"Between November 27, 2018 and the date of this filing, there has been a complete breakdown in the attorney-client relationship," the firm said.
Curiel previously denied the SEC an injunction after the case was first heard in November 2018. At the time, the regulator alleged that 32 individuals effectively bought Blockvest's BLV tokens in an unregistered securities sale, a claim the company denied at the time. The SEC first filed suit in October of last year.
While Curiel did not make a decision on whether the BLV tokens were indeed securities, he did rule at the time that there was insufficient evidence to prove that a securities sale took place.
Editor's note: This article has been updated.
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