Former top SEC crypto regulator hired by Caroline Ellison


A former top crypto regulator in the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will represent Caroline Ellison, ex-Alameda Research CEO, in an ongoing federal probe, according to a report from Bloomberg on Dec. 10. 

Caroline will be represented by Stephanie Avakian and a team of attorneys from WilmerHale. Avakain is currently chair of the Securities and Financial Services department at the law firm. At the SEC, where she was a director at the Enforcement Division and responsible to expand cryptocurrency oversight, bringing cases against Robinhood and Ripple Lab.

According to the law firm website, “Ms. Avakian oversaw the Division’s approximately 1,400 professionals and staff. During her four years leading the Division, the SEC brought more than 3,000 enforcement actions, obtained judgments and orders for more than $17 billion in penalties and disgorgement, and returned approximately $3.6 billion to harmed investors.”

Her profile at the law firm website also noted that under “Ms. Avakian’s direction concerned a wide range of issues including insider trading, financial fraud and disclosure violations, auditor and accounting issues, market structure, asset management, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. She also led the Enforcement Division in confronting novel issues at the forefront of the markets today, such as initial coin offerings, digital assets, and cybersecurity.”

Related: FTX was the ‘fastest’ corporate failure in US history — Trustee calls for probe

A number of investigations and at least seven class action lawsuits have been filed against FTX Group and its heads, Cointelegraph reported. Prosecutors with the United States attorney’s office in the Manhattan district of New York and California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation are investigating the bankrupt crypto exchange and its subsidiaries.

Federal prosecutors have also begun investigating whether Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, was behind the collapse of the Terra ecosystem. As part of a broader inquiry into FTX’s own collapse, prosecutors are investigating whether Bankman-Fried’s empire intentionally caused a flood of “sell” orders on Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD Classic (USTC). According to a report from The New York Times, the majority of the USTC sell orders came from Alameda Research.