Benjamin Naftalis, a former federal prosecutor, serves as Global Vice Chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice.

Mr. Naftalis represents companies, boards, executives, and cryptocurrency market participants in government and internal investigations, regulatory enforcement matters, high-profile disputes, and other sensitive situations throughout the US and internationally. He advises clients facing allegations of:

  • Securities and corporate fraud
  • Insider trading
  • Market manipulation
  • Sanctions
  • Money laundering
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Accounting and healthcare fraud 

Mr. Naftalis counsels private fund managers and clients on enforcement, trading, deal-related diligence, and compliance, with a particular focus on cryptocurrency and other digital assets.

He also regularly represents clients in high-stakes business disputes and securities litigation.

Leading publications, including Chambers USA and The Legal 500 US, consistently recognize Mr. Naftalis for his skill in white collar defense and investigations.

He draws on his experience before a wide range of US regulators, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Earlier in his career, Mr. Naftalis served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. As a member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, he prosecuted financial and investment fraud matters, including corporate and securities fraud, insider trading, and market manipulation. His SEC and DOJ work involved extensive coordination of cross-border and multi-agency investigations.

In 2012, he received the US Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service — the DOJ’s second-highest award. During his tenure at the DOJ, he tried eight federal jury trials and briefed and argued more than 10 appeals before the Second Circuit.

Mr. Naftalis clerked for Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and Judge Dennis Jacobs of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He began his career as a corporate development analyst at DoubleClick, later acquired by Google.

He is a member of the New York City Bar’s White Collar Committee, a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission, a former Council on Foreign Relations term member, and a global steering committee member for Latham’s Women Enriching Business (WEB) initiative.

Mr. Naftalis’ experience includes representing:

White Collar Defense and Investigations

  • A global bank in a multi-jurisdictional sanctions and money laundering investigation
  • Nissan in DOJ and SEC investigations relating to alleged misconduct by former CEO Carlos Ghosn
  • A global bank in a regulatory investigation related to its equity research business, resulting in a full declination
  • A global bank in a European Commission cartel investigation related to foreign exchange (FX) trading, with no action pursued
  • A broker-dealer in a regulatory inquiry of options trading
  • Major market participants in DOJ, SEC, and CFTC investigations concerning the issuance and trading of digital assets
  • An international insurance broker in foreign bribery investigations by the DOJ and UK Serious Fraud Office
  • A global consumer products manufacturer in an SEC investigation of alleged disclosure violations, which ended with issuance of termination letter
  • A defense supply contractor in a DOJ investigation, resulting in a full declination
  • A global accounting firm in an SEC investigation related to a public company audit
  • Audit and Special Committees in de-SPAC-related investigations
  • A specialty pharmaceuticals company in criminal and civil DOJ investigations of off-label marketing and anti-kickback allegations
  • A pharmaceutical distributor in DOJ criminal and civil controlled-substances investigations

Cryptocurrency

  • A BitMEX founder in a criminal prosecution by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and civil investigations by the CFTC and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
  • A venture capital firm in SEC investigations related to various DeFi investments
  • The founder of a global cryptocurrency exchange in DOJ, SEC, CFTC, FinCEN, and OFAC investigations
  • A venture capital firm in state and federal securities class actions
  • A DeFi market participant in regulatory compliance, token issuances, airdrops, and DAO-related advice
  • A trade association and various venture capital firms in formulating SEC and FinCEN comment letters, including related to Reg ATS, and unhosted wallets 
  • Fund managers on deal-related regulatory diligence

Individual Representations

  • An automotive engineer in the auto emissions “Dieselgate” scandal, with no action pursued
  • A public company general counsel in an accounting fraud prosecution brought by the US Attorney’s Office for Southern District of New York, and the SEC, with no action pursued
  • A former board chair in an insider trading prosecution brought by the US Attorney’s Office for Southern District of New York, and the SEC

Securities Litigation

  • A pop culture lifestyle brand in dismissals of federal and state securities class actions related to its IPO and derivative actions
  • A software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider in an SEC investigation and securities class action related to non-GAAP accounting metrics
  • A private equity firm in a securities class action and related regulatory inquiry

Complex Civil Litigation

  • A private equity firm’s portfolio company in earnout-related litigation
  • A pharmaceutical company in a post-acquisition civil dispute
  • A fantasy sports company’s principal investors in successfully resolving multiple investigations and related litigation

Bar Qualification

  • New York

Education

  • JD, Columbia Law School, 2004
    James Kent Scholar, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
  • AB, Brown University, 1999
    Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude