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Roche Freedman Partner Exits Crypto Cases After Video Post

Aug. 31, 2022, 9:35 PM

The leader of a boutique law firm that specializes in cryptocurrency litigation is moving to exit at least two cases after the posting of recordings showing him discussing his relationship with crypto startup Ava Labs.

Kyle Roche, founding partner of Roche Freedman, filed motions Wednesday to withdraw as counsel for proposed classes in separate actions targeting Tron, an issuer of digital tokens, and crypto exchange Bitfinex.

Roche is “no longer involved” in the firm’s class action practice, according to the motions in the Southern District of New York. A Roche spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Roche in an Aug. 29 post on the online platform Medium responded to the release of videos by a website calling itself Crypto Leaks that showed him discussing his work with Ava Labs.

In his Medium post, Roche denied allegations that he said Crypto Leaks made claiming he had teamed up with Ava Labs to target competitors through litigation. His firm has represented Ava Labs since 2019, Roche said in his post, and “we vigorously deny any allegations of impropriety.”

Ava Labs Chief Executive Officer Emin Gun Sirer also issued a statement Aug. 29 saying the videos showed Roche making false statements about their relationship while trying to “impress a potential business partner.” He called accusations of impropriety “conspiracy theory nonsense.”

Roche about three years ago launched his boutique law firm with 11 other attorneys from the elite litigation shop Boies Schiller. His firm began with offices in Miami and New York with plans to dive into areas including crypto and cannabis litigation.

The firm has filed more than a dozen proposed class actions against crypto exchanges and issuers. While Roche has withdrawn from representing the plaintiffs, his firm continues to represent the proposed classes, according to court filings.

To contact the reporter on this story: Justin Wise at jwise@bloombergindustry.com

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