Telegram, the creator of the failed Gram (GRM) token and the Telegram Open Network, or TON, was well into investor reimbursement weeks before a court in the United States ruled that the firm had to return $1.2 billion.
A U.S.-based TON investor tells Cointelegraph that he got his 72% refund from Telegram in late May 2020. According to a bank statement seen by Cointelegraph, the investor received $7.2 million out of the original $10 million investment through a wire transfer.
Telegram CEO says that the firm has repaid over $1.2 billion already
The investor’s statement backs up Telegram’s recent announcement that the firm already paid out more than $1.2 billion to investors that participated in its $1.7 billion initial coin offering, or ICO, back in 2018. Soon after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) proposed a $1.2 billion settlement to the case on June 25, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov claimed that the firm has already repaid more than $1.2 billion.
In his June 25 Telegram post, Durov specified that the amount was paid to investors either directly or in the form of loans. He wrote:
“Today’s proposed settlement reconfirms our commitment to repay the remaining funds to purchasers under the Purchase Agreements. We’ve already repaid more than 1.2bn to the purchasers either directly or in the form of loans.”
Are investors really satisfied with a 72% refund?
As previously reported, Durov first introduced a reimbursement scheme for TON investors on April 30, weeks before the TON project was officially terminated. At the time, the Telegram CEO offered two options — an immediate 72% refund, or a 110% refund in 12 months. While the majority of investors apparently decided to get the 72%, some TON investors voiced concerns over potential lawsuits from investors unsatisfied with the refund plan.
American TON investors were only offered a 72% refund instead of a choice between the two options. Accounting for about $420 million of TON’s $1.7 billion ICO, U.S. investors were not eligible for the 110% reimbursement option due to Telegram’s apprehension about further dealings with U.S. regulators.
In an April 29 investor note seen by Cointelegraph, Telegram wrote:
“Unfortunately, in light of the recent US district court decision, we are unable to issue Grams to you by the 30 April Deadline Date. Accordingly, under the terms of the Purchase Agreement, we owe you the Termination Amount. We are hereby honouring our plan communicated to you in October 2019 to repay 72% of your original investment.”
It’s still unclear why the SEC asked for $1.2 billion instead of $1.7 billion
It remains unclear whether Telegram has reimbursed all of TON investors so far. It is also unclear why the SEC came up with a $1.2 billion settlement instead of $1.7 billion originally raised in the TON ICO.
Philip Moustakis, attorney at Seward & Kissel LLP and former SEC counsel, believes that it is not clear exactly how the parties reached the $1.2 billion settlement. Moustakis said:
“It is difficult to know what offsets to disgorgement, if any, the SEC credited in arriving at a settlement with Telegram, or the degree to which the final number reflects compromise between the parties.”