Another Anti-Whistle Blower Lawsuit

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GlimDropper
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Another Anti-Whistle Blower Lawsuit

Postby GlimDropper » Sat May 06, 2017 2:33 am

[Link to the Complaint]

A little background:

OneCoin is a hybrid MLM income opportunity based on what they allege to be a cryptocurrency, just like bitcoin only better. It started in 2014 and will not finish the year in a recognizable form. 20+ banking relationships terminated across the globe and a growing list of countries taking one form of regulatory action or another against it. They have smartly limited their involvement in the US and the EU seem to be acting like they have bigger things to worry about. But the laws of mathematics kill money games too, OneCoin is far past it's sell by date.

Chris Principe is the publisher of Financial IT Magazine. He has published glowing puff pieces about OneCoin and last June gave a rousing speech at a massive OneCoin gala held in London. I also suspect that while growing up he never heard anything about living in glass houses while throwing stones.

Tim Curry (not that one) who also posts as Tim Tayshun runs a company selling bitcoin ATMs (no lease back deals I trust) and he is a passionate advocate for legitimate cryptocurrencies and their applications which is why he feels the need to denounce frauds like OneCoin. I don't know him well but he does good work, a lot of it and that seems to have run a fowl of Mr. Principe, hence the complaint linked above.

A number of things jump out. Mr. Principe is emphatic that he has never been paid for his services by OneCoin Ltd. or it's public figurehead Ruja Ignatova but he never claims to have given his services or publication space free of charge. You would need a long spread sheet to contain a list of all the names OneCoin has incorporated under, I take Mr. Principe at his word that he was not paid by OneCoin Ltd. or Ms. Ignatova. But we could add the name of the entity that did pay Mr. Principe for his OneCoin related services to that spread sheet we were talking about.

The only specific mention of financial harm caused by Mr. Curry to Mr. Principe was the claim that SkyWay Capital dropped some sort of promotional deal with Principe out of fear of reputational risk from associating with him. :haha: Must be a slap in the face when Russians selling unregistered securities through a multi level marketing scheme don't think you are the sort of person who could add credibility to their sales pitch.

I am of course, not an attorney but I have been in the "make noise, shine light, warn anyone with the wit to search" game for long enough to get a feel for where the edges of the table are. I think that complaint is trying to make a Commercial Speech argument. Mr. Curry sells bitcoin ATMs and therefore his opposition to OneCoin (and Mr. Principe's involvement in it) are simply to defend his financial interests and most particularity, to do so at the expense of Mr. Principe who is the one seeking damages. Chris Principe publishes a magazine and acts as a consultant (and he does't seem to me to care what sort of company pays him as long as it is clear that it is not in fact OneCoin Ltd.)

Commercial speech is held not to have the same protections as non commercial speech, but where is the line between the two?

My best guess, Chris Principe, owner of Financial IT Magazine has a colorable if overly paint by numbers claim here that a competent attorney could well defend against, but it wouldn't be cheap to do. But if Chris has the money and Tim doesn't, you get the picture. Please do correct me if I'm wrong.

ETA: The complaint in some places (long about page four per my PDF viewer) seems a little dodgy to me. While taking great lengths and enormous specificity to point out that Mr. Principe was not paid by either Ruja Ignatova personally nor by OneCoin Ltd. it stops short of claiming that Mr. Principe was not remunerated for his services. However the impression, so to speak is given that Mr. Curry is denouncing OneCoin for his personal financial gain but at the same time Mr. Principe was not employed by, a consultant for, or pert near in any way being paid by OneCoin (or in fact any way at all, what so ever, period, by OneCoin Ltd.) for the services he most publicly rendered unto them.

Why is Principe (through his attorneys) trying to make it sound like he has no involvement in OneCoin and at the same time pretending there was a reason other than Principe's involvement with OneCoin for Tim Curry to publicly comment on him at all?

Chris Principe and the magazine he owns, Financial IT, promoted the OneCoin investment opportunity and were justly criticized for doing so not only by Mr. Curry. If Mr. Principe ever reads these words I'd encourage him to investigate the career and litigation history of "Dr" Keith Laggos, another "expert" who seemed to get paid not so much for what he knew about the rules so much as his best ideas as to how to get around them. Now that's a tough row to hoe but it's a skill set that can pay well, at least until you start getting the wrong kind of publicity.

Lawsuits against whistle blowers can bring a lot of publicity.

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wserra
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Re: Another Anti-Whistle Blower Lawsuit

Postby wserra » Sat May 06, 2017 2:35 pm

GlimDropper wrote:OneCoin . . . [has] smartly limited their involvement in the US and the EU


And, when they don't so limit, things don't go so well. Germany, for example.

BaFin (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) is the German combination of the US' FinCEN and CFPB. A month or so ago, it threw OneCoin out of Germany.

Mr. Principe is emphatic that he has never been paid for his services by OneCoin Ltd. or it's public figurehead Ruja Ignatova but he never claims to have given his services or publication space free of charge.
...
Must be a slap in the face when Russians selling unregistered securities through a multi level marketing scheme don't think you are the sort of person who could add credibility to their sales pitch.


These are illustrative of the many reasons why someone involved in anything shady - someone with something to hide - should never actually sue for defamation. Threaten, insinuate, bluster - but not actually sue. Between "truth is an absolute defense" and "damage to reputation", such a suit opens up everything to discovery. And not just oral questions at a deposition, but demands for records. His lawyer must know this if s/he has any experience in defamation cases. Maybe Principe has a framed copy of FRCvP 41(a)(1) - "voluntary dismissal" - hanging on his wall.

Commercial speech is held not to have the same protections as non commercial speech, but where is the line between the two?


Frequently a difficult question. In an extremely small nutshell, though, speech can be both commercial and still enjoy First Amendment protection. This is particularly true when it includes "truthful information relevant to important social issues". Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products Corp., 463 U.S. 60 (1983). Without doing the research, I'd say that Tim Curry should be able to shiver with antici...PATION.

My best guess, Chris Principe, owner of Financial IT Magazine has a colorable if overly paint by numbers claim here that a competent attorney could well defend against, but it wouldn't be cheap to do. But if Chris has the money and Tim doesn't, you get the picture. Please do correct me if I'm wrong.


Generally agree, with one small caveat. California has an anti-SLAPP statute. Principe brought the case in diversity, so per Erie it applies. Given the wrong findings of fact, Principe may have a problem. At least we can hope.

Nice writeup, Glim.
"A wise man proportions belief to the evidence."
- David Hume


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