Caroline Ellison, former head of Alameda Research, recruited a former SEC crypto regulator to defend her in an ongoing federal investigation involving the collapse of the FTX exchange, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources.
Along with other WilmerHale attorneys, Stephanie Avakian, a former SEC enforcement division head and current partner, will defend Ellison. According to Bloomberg, a representative for the legal firm refused to comment.
The firm’s website reads, “As the former Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, Stephanie Avakian is ideally positioned to assist clients with the enforcement, governance, and compliance concerns facing today’s markets.” Matters under Ms Avakian’s supervision included insider trading, financial fraud and disclosure offences, auditor and accounting difficulties, market structure, asset management, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Ellison has kept a quiet profile in the aftermath of the collapse of Alameda and sibling exchange FTX, despite having an active online presence before the company’s public issues escalated last month. Ellison’s father, Glenn Ellison, is the head of the economics department at MIT, the same institution where SEC Chair Gary Gensler lectured.
Michael McCaffrey, the former CEO and primary owner of The Block received a series of loans from Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of FTX and Alameda, beginning in 2021. In December 2022, McCaffrey resigned from the corporation for failing to report these transactions.
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