Former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky hires Legal team of Sam Bankman-Fried amid crypto controversies


  • Alex Mashinsky, former CEO of Celsius, hires the same legal team as Sam Bankman-Fried, indicating a strategic legal defense amidst serious fraud charges.
  • Both Mashinsky and Bankman-Fried face significant legal and regulatory scrutiny, highlighting systemic issues within the cryptocurrency industry.

Alex Mashinsky, the former CEO of the now-defunct crypto lending platform Celsius, has announced his decision to hire the legal team that previously represented Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced co-founder of FTX, according to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday. However, this move comes as both individuals face serious allegations and charges related to their operations in the volatile world of digital assets.

The legal strategy behind high-profile cases

Marc L. Mukasey and Torrey K. Young, the attorneys in question, have a history of handling high-profile cases, including the representation of Bankman-Fried, who has been convicted of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering charges linked to the collapse of FTX. This decision by Mashinsky has raised eyebrows, given the gravity of the accusations against him and the potential conflict of interest. Despite this, Mashinsky has indicated his willingness to waive any conflicts, suggesting a strategic approach to his defense.

Mashinsky faces seven criminal charges from the Department of Justice (DOJ), accused of orchestrating a scheme to overstate the value of Celsius’ assets while allegedly defrauding customers of $42 million. The collapse of Celsius, once a giant in the digital asset sector claiming to manage over $25 billion in assets, has been a major blow to the industry. The platform’s promise of high returns and safety to investors came crashing down when it halted withdrawals, citing market conditions, and subsequently filed for bankruptcy, revealing a staggering $1.2 billion shortfall.

Regulatory response and industry impact

The case against Mashinsky extends beyond criminal charges, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) all pursuing civil lawsuits. This multi-agency crackdown highlights the increasing regulatory scrutiny on the crypto industry, particularly following high-profile failures that have left investors vulnerable.

The fallout from the collapses of Celsius and FTX  sent shockwaves through the crypto market, prompting calls for clearer regulations and better protections for investors. In November 2022, Bankman-Fried, who is one of the co-founders of FTX, was found guilty of charges related to fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. He was accused of criminally mishandling the bankrupt company. The sentencing hearing for Bankman-Fried is scheduled for next month.

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Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.

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