Alameda’s Ellison Hires Ex-SEC Lawyer Who Charged Musk, Holmes

Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison has a new defense lawyer with serious chops, having spearheaded SEC enforcement for six years

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Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison hires a former top SEC lawyer

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Caroline Ellison, the disgraced CEO of Alameda Research, has reportedly hired a former US Securities and Exchange director as her lawyer.

Stephanie Avakian, Ellison’s new counsel, previously oversaw high profile cases including those against Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes and Elon Musk after he’d tweeted misleading statements about Tesla, per Bloomberg

Avakian was also involved in charging Ripple Labs over its alleged $1.3 billion securities offering (the XRP token sale), as well as discount brokerage Robinhood for misleading customers about its “payment for order flow” business model.

Avakian is currently a partner at international law firm WilmerHale, which she joined in 2020 after altogether serving six years at the SEC in both deputy director and director roles. Other lawyers at WilmerHale will also be representing Ellison, according to Bloomberg sources.

Still, Ellison recruiting Avakian as her lawyer comes as FTX Group and its former executives are under investigations by federal prosecutors over potential fraud.

Alameda Research, part of the FTX umbrella, served as market maker, crypto hedge fund and venture capitalist across the crypto space. The firm has been dogged by allegations of misusing FTX user funds for risky bets, eventually leading both firms to file for bankruptcy last month.

Onlookers are eager to hear from FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who is expected to testify remotely in a Congressional hearing scheduled for Tuesday. Bankman-Fried is still in the Bahamas, he said in a Twitter space on Monday. Ellison’s whereabouts are unknown.

Prospects of Ellison appearing at the hearing alongside Bankman-Fried seem slim. Still, it’s clear Ellison is preparing for an intensive legal fight moving forward.


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