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Bittrex Global Bitcoin Exchange Nabs Big Law Associate as New GC

Nov. 3, 2021, 6:34 PM

Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex Global GmbH said Wednesday it hired Shearman & Sterling senior associate Oliver Linch to be its general counsel.

Linch started Nov. 1 after spending the past decade as part of Shearman’s financial institutions advisory and regulatory practice in London and New York.

His move to Bittrex Global comes a few months after Bittrex Inc., the company’s U.S. arm, hired former Squire Patton Boggs partner David Maria in Washington to be its head of litigation and regulatory affairs. In August, Caleb Barker, a former white-collar and government investigations associate at Squire Patton Boggs, also joined Bittrex’s U.S. unit as an associate general counsel.

In September, Bittrex Global touted its hire of veteran financial services executive Michael Schröder to serve as its chief compliance and risk officer.

Bittrex Global, like other cryptocurrency companies, has domiciled itself in the tax-friendly jurisdiction of Liechtenstein.

The company has sought to differentiate itself from Bittrex Inc. The international scope of Bittrex Global’s platform “provides innovative tokens a more streamlined approach for being listed,” Bittrex Global spokeswoman Sarah Mawji said in a statement.

Mawji declined to discuss the structure of the company’s in-house legal team. She confirmed that Linch’s new job is solely as legal chief for Bittrex Global, which caters to retail and institutional clients outside the U.S.

Linch reports to Bittrex Global CEO Stephen Stonberg, who spoke with Bloomberg News in August about Dubai’s potential growth as a hub for cryptocurrencies.

Stonberg took over earlier this year as leader of Bittrex Global following the resignation of Thomas Albright. The latter, who spent a dozen years working at O’Melveny & Myers, had initially been hired as a deputy general counsel in 2018.

Albright had been general counsel before being appointed interim CEO last year following the departure of Kiran Raj, a former O’Melveny & Myers partner. Raj was hired by the company in late 2017 to be its chief strategy officer, while John Roth came aboard as chief compliance and ethics officer.

Raj and Roth, who both spent time at the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department, left their respective posts with Bittrex-related entities last year.

Their exits came as financial regulators in New York ordered Bittrex Inc. to cease operating in the state amid concerns over sanctions compliance and anti-money laundering protocols at the company.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com