US Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn has ordered Ripple to hand over one million Slack messages to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Ripple has previously objected to the request, claiming it would cost $1m to retrieve the data. However, agreeing with SEC, Judge Netburn has deemed the messages vital to the continuation of the lawsuit.
SEC has been fighting Ripple Labs and executives Christian Larsen and Bradley Garlinghouse over the alleged sale of unregistered securities, in the form of XRP, in December 2020.
Judge Netburn's decision was partly motivated by what she perceived as “incomplete messages” that questioned the validity of the information provided and prompted further debate.
Ripple responded to the claim of withholding messages by arguing that it was a data processing mistake and not an attempt to conceal relevant information, but SEC said that the failure to produce the full list of messages was “highly prejudicial”.
According to SEC, the messages were a vital part of the case: “These messages include: (a) discussions about Ripple's desire to create speculative trading in XRP, (b) the effect of Ripple announcements and efforts on, and Ripple's concerns as to, the price of XRP, the relationship and central importance of XRP sales to Ripple's overall business, and (c) the regulatory status of XRP.”
Meanwhile, Ripple Labs has been pursuing its own attempts to uncover relevant information about the case, asking SEC and the court to reveal if any of the regulator's employees have been trading in crypto, and specifically XRP.