LONDON (Reuters) – A three-year-long U.S. court battle over a cryptocurrency fundraiser, one of the largest initial coin offerings ever, has ended with a Swiss foundation paying $25 million to participants who lost money and their lawyers.
The litigation followed a Reuters investigation in October 2017 that detailed a bitter feud between the founders of the Tezos cryptocurrency project, Arthur and Kathleen Breitman, and the then-president of the Tezos Foundation, that threatened to derail the blockchain venture. (https://rb.gy/3ffpc0)
The Zug-based foundation had handled the fundraiser, which raised $232 million in just 13 days during a cryptocurrency buying frenzy in 2017.
Lawsuits alleged that the Tezos online offering was an unregistered securities sale. As a result of the settlement, the federal court did not rule on the matter.
The settlement, initially proposed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco in March, received final approval by a federal judge on Friday.
The Tezos Foundation agreed to pay the entire $25 million. The dispute with the founders and the foundation’s president was eventually resolved. The Swiss entity has continued to promote the Tezos technology and its website states that its assets have grown to $635 million.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive more than $8.5 million in fees and expenses, according to a court order by the judge.
(Reporting by Anna Irrera and Steve Stecklow in London; Editing by Richard Chang)