Former SEC Chair Mary Jo White on SEC’s XRP Lawsuit: ‘Dead Wrong Legally and Factually’

In a recent interview, Mary Jo White, a former Chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York talked about the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple Labs.

Ms. White is currently a litigation partner in the New York office of Debevoise & Plimpton, and “leader of the firm’s Strategic Crisis Response and Solutions Group.”

According to her bio, before joining Debevoise in 2017, she served for almost four years as Chair of the SEC. She was “nominated by President Obama to lead the SEC and was one of the Commission’s longest-serving Chairs.”

Ms. White is “recognized by The Legal 500 US (2020) and by Securities Docket’s 2020 ‘Enforcement 40,’ their list of the 40 best securities enforcement defense lawyers in the business.” Furthermore, Ms. White is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International College of Trial Lawyers. She has received numerous awards and is “regularly ranked as a leading lawyer by directories that evaluate law firms.”

As you may remember, on 22 December 2020, the SEC announced that it had “filed an action against Ripple Labs Inc. and two of its executives, who are also significant security holders, alleging that they raised over $1.3 billion through an unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering.” 

Ripple will be defended by two former SEC officials: White, who is the senior chair, and Andrew J. Ceresney, who served from April 2013 to December 2016 as the Director of Enforcement of the SEC. Ceresney is a partner in the New York office of Debevoise and Co-Chair of the firm’s Litigation Department.

White’s comments came during an interview earlier this month with Fortune.

White believes unequivocally that the SEC is wrong to go after Ripple for the sale of XRP tokens becuase in her view XRP is a currency and not a security.



She told Fortune:

There’s no way to sugarcoat it. They’re dead wrong legally and factually.”

She criticizes former SEC Chair Jay Clayton for getting the SEC to file its lawsuit against Ripple on his last day at office:

As a former U.S. attorney and SEC chair, you know that when it takes that long to figure out a case you probably shouldn’t be bringing it. It’s not something I would do walking out the door.

White expects Gary Gensler, President Biden’s nominee for SEC Chair, who is a blockchain and cryptocurrency expert, to want to bring much-needed regularity clarity to the crypto space:

You have scarce resources [as chair], and you have to pick your spots. The crypto-landscape is a critical one, and there’s a crying need for clarity.”

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The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.

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