Benjamin Naftalis is New York Deputy Office Managing Partner and previously served as Global Co-Chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice.

Mr. Naftalis, a former federal prosecutor, 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 also counsels private fund managers and clients on compliance, trading, and deal-related diligence. 

Mr. Naftalis draws on his experience before a range of US regulators, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), related to allegations of securities and commodities fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, accounting and healthcare fraud, bribery and corruption, sanctions, and money laundering.

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

Leading publications, including Chambers and The Legal 500 US, consistently recognize Mr. Naftalis for his skill in white collar defense and investigations. Since bringing the first of its kind securities fraud prosecution related to a cryptocurrency in 2014, he has been a recognized leader in the digital asset space — where he is ranked Band 1 by Chambers FinTech.

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 DOJ and SEC matters 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 Council on Foreign Relations and a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission.

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
  • A fintech platform in an internal investigation by its Audit Committee related to allegations of financial misstatements, workplace irregularities, and related SEC investigation
  • 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
  • Audit and Special Committees in internal investigations
  • 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
  • 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


  • The co-founder of a global cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform in criminal and civil enforcement matters
  • 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 the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
  • A prominent venture capital firm in SEC investigations related to various DeFi investments
  • 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
  • A prominent venture capital firm in class actions alleging securities law violations and other claims relating to cryptocurrency projects and technology
  • The co-founder of a global cryptocurrency platform in class actions alleging violations of securities and commodities laws

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


  • JD, Columbia Law School, 2004
    Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, James Kent Scholar
  • AB, Brown University, 1999
    magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
February 12, 2024 Recognition

Fintech Group of the Year: Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins LLP made waves in the fintech world last year by successfully defending venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in a case of first impression involving so-called scam tokens as well as through its representation of Binance's CEO in ongoing enforcement actions.