Ex-Alameda Research Caroline Ellison, CEO, has hired a former SEC official who oversaw many of the regulator’s biggest crypto As her lawyer in The federal probe into cryptocurrency exchange FTX’s calamitous collapse. 

Stephanie Avakian, former According to sources familiar with the matter, Ellison is represented by WilmerHale and other attorneys at her firm, WilmerHale’s enforcement division chief at Securities and Exchange Commission.  

A spokesperson for the law company declined to comment. 

Alameda The Hong Kong-based sister trading firm of FTX?, and FTX’s bankruptcy team, Congress, regulators and Manhattan prosecutors are probing allegations billions of dollars in Customer funds deposited at the exchange were traded Alameda.

Sam Bankman-Fried FTX’s founder and former Chief executive officer has slammed Alameda in Several media interviews. Ellison, however, has remained silent so far, leading to speculation that Ellison may be looking for a cooperation agreement with authorities. 

Avakian was SEC enforcement director for four years — and deputy director for two — before she joined WilmerHale in 2020. She served as director together with Steve Peikin. FTX in Its bankruptcy proceedings. During their tenure, enforcement was increased by the regulator in The cryptocurrency industry. 

Avakian was also involved in the case against Ripple Labs (whose founders were accused for illegally raising $1.3 Billion). in Offering of unregistered digital assets securities. The ongoing debate about whether 2020 SEC suits are appropriate has been sparked by the 2020 SEC suit. crypto Assets are securities.

Other than the crypto Avakian was also responsible for enforcement against General Electric, Robinhood Markets, and Tesla Inc’s chief executive officer Elon Musk.

WilmerHale partner Anjan Sahni, a former Federal prosecutor who was in the running to be President Joe Biden’s US attorney for the Southern District of New York before Damian Williams was selected for the role last year, is also working on Ellison’s case, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

The Southern District is leading this criminal investigation FTX. Sahni has previously worked in the office for a decade and oversaw the investigation into Bernie Madoff’s accomplices and facilitators, as well as dozens of insider trading probes. He led the Southern District’s securities-fraud unit before he left in 2015. 

Sahni and Avakian have both visited the Southern District prosecutors’ office in Lower Manhattan in the past week, but it’s unclear whether their visits were related to Ellison. 

Rumours abound about her whereabouts after a Twitter photo of her at a Soho coffee shop was shared on December 4.

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