Empower Oversight has announced that it has obtained the first document containing information between two former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials, William Hinman and Marc Berger, and Simpson Thacher, following its investigation of a possible conflict of interest in the SEC v. Ripple lawsuit.
The document was handed to the non-profit organization following litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) last year.
Possible Conflict of Interest in Ripple Lawsuit
At the time of the request, Empower Oversight stated that it wanted to analyze potential conflicts of interest by the agency in relation to cryptocurrency law enforcement, especially in the SEC v. Ripple lawsuit.
It is worth noting that the two former senior SEC officials Hinman and Berger left the security agency and joined Simpson Thacher & Barlett, an affiliate of Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.
For clarity, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is a group of companies focused on marketing the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency as an enterprise solution.
Aside from Hinman and Berger, Jay Clayton is another former top SEC official under suspicion in the lawsuit between the securities regulators and Ripple.
Following the suspicion of these officials, Empower Oversight on February 18, 2022, specifically listed the names of top SEC officials associated with the companies named in the FOIA request in order to enable the agency to gather relevant information to aid the investigation.
Details of the Received Documents
According to Empower Oversight, the received documents contain 1,053 pages of emails from an email address linked to Hinman, as well as a 46-page document of messages involving Berger.
Empower Oversight noted that the vast majority of the information may not have been included in the report due to formatting issues that resulted in blank and duplicated information.
Commenting on the recent development, Jason Foster, Empower Oversight founder and president, said the production of the first document seems to be a step in the right direction, adding:
“[The SEC] must keep its commitment to conduct additional searches in order to fulfill its legal obligation to transparency. Empower Oversight will not relent in its commitment to enforcing accountability through the public’s right to know.”
Empower Oversight is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to enhancing independent oversight of government and corporate entities’ wrongdoings. The organization also gathers relevant information and reports corruption to the appropriate authorities, while holding public officials accountable to carry out their functions.
Ethereum v Ripple Competition
Recall that both Ripple and Ethereum (ETH) were in a neck-to-neck battle over which cryptocurrency would occupy the second spot in the global cryptocurrency rankings.
However, following comments made by Hinman in 2018, Ethereum usurped Ripple to become the second-largest cryptocurrency.
Things became worse for Ripple after Clayton, during his last day in office, charged Ripple and its executive with conducting an unregistered security offering in the United States.
The case is speculated to be close to reaching a much anticipated end, with a settlement expected to be reached between April and May 2022.