Caroline Ellison, the Ex-CEO of Alameda Research, has hired a former top regulator for cryptocurrencies at the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Bloomberg was the first to report that Ellison had hired Stephanie Avakian, who used to be the SEC’s enforcement director and is now the head of the securities and financial services department at the law firm WilmerHale. Bloomberg heard from sources close to the case that Avakian and other WilmerHale lawyers will represent Ellison.
Avakian has worked for the SEC since 2014, and in 2016 she was put in charge of the SEC’s enforcement division. During his time at the SEC, Akavian was in charge of a team that worked on a number of high-profile cases against big companies and well-known people. Stephanie Avakian is listed in WilmerHale’s best lawyers in 2023 in America
She handles lots of big cases, like Elizabeth Holmes for making false claims to investors to get $700 million for Theranos, Elon Musk for tweeting false information about a plan to take Tesla private, and Facebook for lying to investors about the risks of misusing user data.
During his time at the SEC, Avakian also helped make cryptocurrency laws stricter by leading cases against companies like Robinhood and Ripple Lab.
Avakian and WilmerHale will represent Ellison during the federal investigation into her former trading firm Alameda Research, and overnight fallen cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
Alameda borrowed $3.3 billion worth of funds from FTX and lent them to founder Sam Bankman-Fried and companies he controlled, according to court documents. Some have speculated she may be cutting a deal and cooperating with authorities in connection with the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange. Ellison has remained an elusive figure in FTX’s collapse, largely unreachable during its downfall. according to New York magazine.