Following mounting lawsuits, the founders of Tezos are seeking for their legal costs to be covered by the Swiss-based foundation tasked with managing the funds generated through the company’s ICO (initial coin offering). If successful, the Tezos founders will be using the funds of the very ICO participants that sued the company to pay for their legal expenses.
Tezos Founders Seek Investor Funded Bail-Out to Cover Legal Costs
Arthur and Kathleen Beitman, the founder of the Tezos project, now faces three class action lawsuits in the United States. Tezos raised approximately $232 million USD through its ICO in July, however, following a dispute between the project’s founders and the Swiss-based foundation established to manage the raised funds, has failed to develop the project and distribute tokens to investors. The company has since been dealt a series of class-action lawsuits alleging that Tezos has violated U.S. federal securities laws and ultimately defrauded participants. At the time of the ICO’s completion, Tezos had set the record for the largest sum of money raised through a single initial coin offering.
Reuters has reported that the Breitman couple wishes to access the foundation’s funds in order to cover their legal costs. Although the Breitmans have recently refused to answer questions on the topic, Georg von Schnurbein, co-author of a book on the topic of Swiss foundation governance, has weighed in on the issue.
“In My Opinion, There Is No Reason for That Because Their Activities Were Connected to Their Delaware Company, Not to the Foundation” – Georg Von Schnurbein
Mr. Schnurbein states that “because the lawsuits have nothing to do with with the foundation[‘s] purpose,” the foundation’s board members could run afoul of Swiss regulators – should the Tezos foundation foot the bill for legal costs. The contractual agreement between DLS the Tezos foundation dictates that the Swiss federal supervisory authority for foundations will be required to approve the Breitmans’ wishes – however, Reuters reports that a spokesman for the department tasked with overseeing the relevant authority has stated that “It is not the Foundation Authority’s task nor its responsibility to approve private law agreements.”
Kathleen Breitman has previously sought to depict investing in the Tezos ICO as being akin to making a donation to a fundraising drive and receiving a tote bag, suggesting that the couple may hope to evade securities regulations. According to Stephen Palley of the corporate law firm Anderson Kill, however, the contractual agreement indicates that Tezos’ ICO will likely be subject to securities law. “This weakens the argument that tokens were a discretionary gift, akin to a tote bag given to people who donate to a public radio fundraising drive,” Mr. Palley stated.
What are your thoughts on the Tezos founders’ desire to access the foundation’s funds in order to pay for legal costs? Share your response in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tezos
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