Willkie hires ex-SEC crypto, asset management enforcers for the DC office

Willkie hires ex-SEC crypto, asset management enforcers for the DC office
Willkie hires ex-SEC crypto, asset management enforcers for the DC office

Willkie Farr & Gallagher Offices in New York, May 19, 2021. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

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  • Kristina Littman and Adam Aderton will be partners in Willkie’s litigation practice
  • Littman’s cases included civil charges against John McAfee and Steven Seagal for their cryptocurrency deals.

(Reuters) – Willkie Farr & Gallagher said on Tuesday that they have hired two former US Securities and Exchange Commission officials, one of whom led the federal agency’s enforcement work on cryptocurrencies.

Kristina Littman, the former head of the SEC’s crypto assets and cyber unit, and former co-head of the agency’s asset management unit Adam Aderton will be partners in New York-based Willkie’s case law. They will be based in the firm’s office in Washington, DC.

Littman joined the SEC in 2010 and was a former senior adviser to former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton on issues including digital assets and cybersecurity.

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While leading the crypto and cyber unit, Littman’s cases included a $ 10.4 million settlement last year with the cryptocurrency trading platform Poloniex for allegedly failing to register with the authorities.

She also helped raise a charge in 2020 against action movie star Steven Seagal for “illegally proclaiming” an offer of cryptocurrency. Seagal agreed to pay $ 314,000 to settle the case.

Littman also oversaw civil accusations against antivirus software maker John McAfee for allegedly earning $ 23.1 million in undisclosed compensation from recommending seven cryptocurrency offers on Twitter that were significantly false and misleading.

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McAfee died of suicide in a prison in Barcelona last year after a Spanish court approved his extradition on charges of tax evasion.

Law firms have increasingly focused on cryptocurrency clients as the SEC increases enforcement in the area.

Littman said she was attracted to Willkie in part because it already has an established crypto practice in place.

Aderton joined the SEC in 2008 and began leading the asset management unit in 2019.

He was a member of the commission’s working group on climate and environment, social and corporate governance and helped work on proposed rules to prevent funds from making misleading claims about ESG credentials.

Several SEC officials have recently left the Commission on Private Practice, including former SEC adviser Robert Stebbins who joined Willkie again last year.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore opened an office in Washington last month with two former SEC officials, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius hired a 13-year-old SEC veteran earlier this year.

Littman and Aderton both said it was a natural time for them to leave the commission, since each spent more than a decade working there. They said their exits had nothing to do with the current SEC leadership.

Read more:

Former SEC GC Stebbins returns to Willkie

The law firm Cravath on Wall Street arrives in DC with hires from federal regulators

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Jacqueline Thomsen

Thomson Reuters

Jacqueline Thomsen, based in Washington, DC, covers legal news related to politics, the courts and the legal profession. Follow her on Twitter at @jacq_thomsen and send her an email at [email protected]

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