Benjamin Naftalis is a partner in the Litigation & Trial Department of Latham & Watkins. He is the Global Co-Chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice and is a member of its Financial Institutions Industry Group.
A former federal prosecutor, Mr. Naftalis is a trial lawyer who represents financial institutions, corporations, and individuals in white collar criminal defense and regulatory matters, internal investigations, complex civil litigation, and a range of other sensitive situations, throughout the US and internationally.
Prior to joining Latham, Mr. Naftalis served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 2006 to 2014. As a member of the Southern District’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, Mr. Naftalis investigated and prosecuted a wide range of white collar matters related to insider trading, accounting fraud, market manipulation and pump-and-dump schemes, broker-dealer and investment advisor fraud, mismarking of securities, dark pools and high-frequency trading, and virtual currencies. Among notable cases, he successfully prosecuted the two former hedge fund managers of the US$8 billion Amerindo Investment Advisors fund and the principals of the multi-billion dollar WG Trading hedge fund.
As a member of the Southern District’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, Mr. Naftalis led many of the government’s highest-profile extraterritorial investigations involving terrorism and national security, international money-laundering, and global narcotics trafficking that targeted senior al Qaeda and al Shabaab operatives and narcotics kingpins. He has conducted numerous investigations in parallel with US and foreign law-enforcement, intelligence services, and regulators such as the FBI, SEC, CFTC, FINRA, OFAC, DEA’s Special Operations Division, Department of Defense, Department of State, and High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.
Mr. Naftalis is also an experienced first-chair trial and appellate lawyer. As an Assistant US Attorney, Mr. Naftalis tried eight federal jury trials, and briefed and argued more than 10 appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, including addressing questions of first impression related to challenges to the extraterritorial reach of securities fraud prosecutions.
In 2016, Mr. Naftalis was named to Law360’s national list of Rising Stars in the white collar area, and recognized as a Rising Star by the New York Law Journal. He is recommended by The Legal 500 US in the areas of corporate investigations and white collar criminal defense (2016-18). In 2012, Naftalis received the US Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service – the Department of Justice’s second highest award – for the successful prosecution of Ahmed Warsame, an al Shabaab commander and emissary to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on terrorism charges.
Prior to joining the US Attorney’s Office, 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, a technology company later acquired by Google.
Mr. Naftalis is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Mr. Naftalis’ experience includes the representation of:
- An international financial institution in a global, multi-jurisdictional criminal and regulatory investigation
- A private defense supply contractor in a federal criminal investigation conducted by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Defense, and a US Intelligence Agency, resulting in a full declination of prosecution
- A publicly traded pharmaceutical company in civil and criminal DOJ investigations of alleged off-label marketing in violation of the FDCA, FCA, and Anti-Kick Back Statute
- A publicly traded internet-marketing company in a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement investigation and securities class action
- An executive in an insider trading investigation by the US Attorney’s Office, S.D.N.Y.
- An individual in a global, multi-jurisdictional criminal investigation related to the “dieselgate” scandal
- Numerous individuals and entities in non-public investigations conducted by DOJ, SEC, and other law enforcement agencies
- The principal investors in DraftKings in multiple state and federal investigations and related civil litigation, resulting in no action
- A publicly traded pharmaceutical company in a breach of contract dispute filed in S.D.N.Y., related to the disposition of an asset and post-sale liabilities
- A publicly traded energy concern in pre-litigation counseling related to gas production and delivery agreements and obligations
- A film-financing company in a civil action filed in NY against Relativity Media and its officers for fraud and breach of contract
- Employees of a global financial institution in connection with a foreign exchange (FX) investigation
- Numerous private equity firms and hedge funds related to deal-related counseling and diligence, trading, litigation scoping, and regulatory compliance