A Russian private equity firm has taken Telegram to court over its failed TON project. Da Vinci Capital filed the lawsuit against the instant messaging company, claiming to have lost over $70 million in the project. According to reports in Russia, the firm has been trying to settle the issue out of court for the past four months with no success.
Da Vinci Capital was one of the several firms and individuals in Russia who invested in TON, with Telegram seeing massive support from its home country. However, as CoinGeek reported, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Telegram of an unregistered securities violation. The charges were later settled, with Telegram having to pay an $18.5 million penalty and pay back 70% of the funds it had raised ($1.2 billion in total as it had raised $1.7 billion).
In an interview with Russian outlet RBC, Da Vinci managing partner Oleg Zhelezko said the firm had filed the case in a London court.
“We protect their (investors) rights; we want our investors to make money. And when there are various legal conflicts and inconsistencies, of course, we have no other choice but to sometimes transfer these proceedings to the judicial level,” he stated.
When the opportunity to invest in TON came up, Da Vinci gathered 50 investors and collectively, they raised $72 million, Oleg revealed. Of this, they invested $45 million in the ill-fated project in 2018. However, when Telegram started to refund its investors as per the SEC agreement, Da Vinci investors were reportedly left out.
Oleg believes that theirs may be the first case against Telegram, and it won’t be the last. He predicted that other investors, in Russia and even in Europe, will come together and pursue their funds through the judicial process.
According to RBC, despite filing the lawsuit, Da Vinci has been trying to reach out to Telegram’s management to settle the issue out of court. However, Telegram executives “consider such claims absurd, therefore, did not show interest in negotiations.”
Reports in Russia had initially claimed that Da Vinci was seeking over $100 million in damages from Telegram. However, RBC cited sources who revealed that the amount was close to $20 million.
Telegram lawyers are confident that the London court will throw out the case. They claim that the investment contract “clearly stipulated both costs and risks.”
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