Alex Mashinsky's Bold Move: Seeking to Drop FTC's Complaint Entirely

Police & Regulations
Jack Evans
Sep 12, 2023 at 04:06 pm

The crypto community has been abuzz with the latest twist in the ongoing saga surrounding Alex Mashinsky, the former CEO of Celsius Network. In a move that has sent shockwaves through the industry, Mashinsky is taking a bold stand against the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), seeking to have their complaints against him completely dismissed.

It all started when Celsius, once a shining star in the crypto firmament, came crashing down amid a brutal market downturn in July 2022, leaving investors reeling from massive losses. Fast forward to July 2023, and Mashinsky found himself in handcuffs as three federal agencies—the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the FTC—sued him and Celsius for a litany of alleged violations, fraud, false financial representations, and misleading customers.

While the FTC managed to reach a settlement with Celsius and its affiliated companies, which included a staggering $4.7 billion payment and a permanent ban on offering crypto services involving customer assets, the fine has been temporarily suspended to allow the embattled crypto lender to repay users during the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

However, what has truly set tongues wagging is Mashinsky's decision not to back down. His legal team, in a recent court filing on September 11, argued that the FTC's allegations lack substance, claiming that Mashinsky had already resigned from his CEO position, making it baseless to accuse him of "violating" or being "about to violate" any laws. Furthermore, they contended that the FTC is not entitled to seek monetary relief based on the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA).

Mashinsky's lawyers went on to challenge the FTC's assertion that he had deliberately made misstatements to fraudulently obtain customer information, asserting that such accusations do not meet the requirements under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) of 1999—a legislation designed to regulate the handling of customers' private information by financial services companies.

As the battle rages on in the courtroom, Celsius executives Shlomi Daniel Leon and Hanoch "Nuke" Goldstein have not opted for an easy way out, choosing not to settle with the FTC. The federal agency has stated its intent to pursue the case against these executives in federal court.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has taken a drastic step by freezing Alex Mashinsky's bank accounts and assets, adding another layer of complexity to this high-stakes legal drama that could reshape the crypto landscape.

In the volatile world of cryptocurrencies, Alex Mashinsky's determination to clear his name and protect his legacy serves as a captivating subplot. As this legal battle unfolds, it could set a precedent for how regulatory agencies interact with crypto pioneers, with the crypto community and the wider financial world watching intently to see how it all plays out. The outcome of this legal showdown may very well leave an indelible mark on the future of the crypto industry.

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