Roche Freedman’s Legal Targets Cry Foul After Video Leak

Tether’s lawyer said Kyle Roche’s withdrawal from overall cases doesn’t imply the information he obtained for Roche Freedman won’t be shared

article-image

Source: Shutterstock

share

key takeaways

  • “Any conflict of interest impacting Mr. Roche is imputed to his entire firm,” the lawyer said
  • Court could ask Roche Freedman to destroy relevant documents and declare confidentiality

Kyle Roche’s move to withdraw himself from multiple class action cases hasn’t reassured attorneys for defendants in his firms’ lawsuits.

Legal representatives for Tether, Bittrex and Poloniex are now seeking the complete removal of his law firm, Roche Freedman, as counsel in cases brought against them, court documents filed on Wednesday and Thursday show. 

Their requests followed Roche — a founding partner at the firm — asking the court to remove his name as an attorney in several class actions against companies including Bitfinex and Tether. A day later, he moved to pull out of additional cases against Nexo, BAM Trading Services (the registered name for Binance.US), Solana and Dfinity. 

The fact that he is no longer involved with Roche Freedman’s class action practice led to his withdrawal filings, per the documents filed. 

Trouble for the controversial attorney began after surreptitiously recorded videos were leaked showing Roche admitting to providing legal services to Avalanche developer Ava Labs in exchange for AVAX tokens and equity. That in itself wouldn’t be unusual, but the alleged agreement included Roche aiding Ava Labs by suing “half the companies in this space” with the objective of obtaining access to sensitive internal information, while distracting regulators and deflecting scrutiny away from Avalanche.

Tether’s lawyers raised concerns over Roche’s statements in the videos, and pointed out that his disassociation with Roche Freedman’s class-action cases is “extraordinary” since the practice represents a vast majority of his firm’s work. 

“Such a drastic step is inconsistent with Mr. Roche’s suggestion that his videotaped statements were taken out of context, and it validates the serious concerns caused by those statements,” Elliott Greenfield of Debevoise & Plimpton wrote.

Both Ava Labs CEO Emin Gün Sirer and Kyle have denied the allegations. Roche also claimed the footage was highly-edited and that he was duped by Norwegian venture capitalist Christen Ager-Hanssen — an off-camera second speaker in the video — who, he alleged, was working on behalf of Dfinity CEO Dominic Williams.

The leaked footage was broken up into 25 parts averaging about 30 seconds each, but otherwise does not appear to be materially edited within each clip.

Ager-Hanssen has denied any link to Williams or responsibility for the recordings. He has been known to make secret recordings of meetings, however; in 2014, the Norwegian DN Magazine, reportedly found that Ager-Hanssen “always had a hidden microphone with him, both at lunches, dinners and business meetings.”

Other Roche Freedman lawyers allegedly hold ties with Ava Labs

Greenfield also said Roche’s withdrawal from the cases does not suggest the information he already has won’t be used inappropriately, or that he won’t gain returns from potential wins.

“Even if he is no longer counsel of record, he would still have access to discovery materials, would retain the ability to direct the conduct of other lawyers at his firm, and would profit from any potential recovery in this lawsuit,” he said.

The attorney also noted Roche may not be the only benefactor of the pact CryptoLeaks claimed to have exposed, alleging that several other lawyers at Roche Freedman including Devin “Vevel” Freedman, Amos Friedland and Edward Normand may own substantial amounts of AVAX tokens.

A memorandum of understanding dated Dec. 26, 2019, referenced in a lawsuit filed by Roche’s former partner Jason Cyrulnik, puts the share of “Ava Labs tokens” for the three partners at 32%, 5% and 5%, respectively, of the amounts received.

Investors pursuing the class action would still be represented by Selendy Gay Elsberg and Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky, Greenfield added.

The court was asked to order Roche Freedman to return or destroy documents relevant to Tether, Bittrex and Poloniex’s cases held with the firm, and to declare these haven’t been shared with Ava Labs or a third party.

Kyle Roche, Devin Freedman, Amos Friedland, Edward Normand and Roche Freedman didn’t return Blockworks’ request for comment by press time.


Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.

Tags

    Upcoming Events

    Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

    Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

    Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

    Salt Lake City, UT

    WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

    Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

    recent research

    Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg

    Research

    In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.

    article-image

    BUZZ holds shares of Coinbase, Robinhood and MicroStrategy

    article-image

    Opinion: Even though I didn’t pay for my “Diamond Hands” burger with BTC, don’t let that fool you into thinking that crypto’s development is futile

    article-image

    The results mark “a major positive inflection point,” one analyst says, as the exchange carries net income momentum into a crypto rally

    article-image

    While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders

    article-image

    Trading volumes totalled $154 billion in Q4, including $125 billion in institutional volume

    article-image

    DeFi on Bitcoin is all the rage right now and Stacks is positioned to benefit