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  • 🧩 Don't put this in writing: CFTC v. Binance

🧩 Don't put this in writing: CFTC v. Binance

PLUS: A judge moonlights on OF, Alibaba looks to break itself up, an activist backs off Salesforce...

Lookzy: all your daily legal news in 0.1 billable hours. Plain English coverage of deals, litigation and legal trends trusted by lawyers at Cravath, Latham, Skadden, Gunderson and elsewhere.

Welcome to Lookzy In today's Lookzy:

  • What not to write in an email: CFTC v. Binance

  • An activist backs off of Salesforce

  • Alibaba looks to break itself up

  • The admin law judge moonlighting on OnlyFans

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Arguing today's litigation news

What not to do.  The CFTC sued several non-US Binance entities, Binance founder Changpeng Zhao ("CZ") and the former Binance Chief Compliance Officer, alleging that Binance and CZ operated an unregistered derivatives exchange and strategically targeted US retail customers, ignoring CFTC registration and compliance measures.  The complaint includes a number of damning statements by CZ and his Chief Compliance Officer showing they were highly aware of some of the illegal activity they are alleged to have facilitated - click through today's Boilerplate section for a taste.  

First vaping suit.  E-cigarette company Juul Labs Inc and its former largest investor, Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc, will face their first US trial this week over claims that they created a public nuisance by marketing addictive e-cigarettes to minors. The state of Minnesota seeks to make them pay for remedy measures against teen addiction. This marks the first time any of the thousands of cases against the e-cigarette maker over its alleged marketing to young people is going to play out in a courtroom.

Plea mulligan.  James Velissaris, the founder of Infinity Q Management, a hedge fund, asked to withdraw his guilty plea ahead of his sentencing next week. Velissaris was charged with fraud in 2020 after the SEC found that he had been inflating the value of certain assets in Infinity Q’s portfolio. The SEC also found that Velissaris had been using a complex pricing model that he himself had created to overvalue these assets. Velissaris noted his mental illness and said he had "felt hopeless and overwhelmed by pressure from both prosecutors and his prior counsel to accept a plea deal" at the time.

COVID rent.  Crowell & Moring has sued its Washington, D.C., landlord, The TREA 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue Trust, to recover $30 million that the law firm said it was not required to pay in rent amid office space disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The law firm paid TREA Trust more than $30 million in rent between April 2020 and May 2021 but is entitled to a 98% abatement because office access “was reduced to less than 2% of the normal use and access” under the lease.


Wheelin' and dealin' today's corporate news

On again, off again.  A federal judge granted the US government’s request to temporarily halt Voyager Digital’s bankruptcy plan, putting the crypto lender’s proposed sale to Binance.US on hold. Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy in July 2022 and won court approval to sell itself to Binance.US after contentious bankruptcy hearings in which state and federal regulators, including the SEC, joined a handful of investors in opposing the approximately $1 billion deal. 

Activist retreat.  Activist investor Elliott Investment Management won’t be proceeding with plans to nominate its own directors to Salesforce’s board, citing improved performance and a clearer “focus on value creation” from the enterprise software company. With Elliott announcing it is withdrawing its slate of Salesforce board candidates, it seems that some activist pressure has been lifted in a win for Salesforce.

Alibaba breakup.  Alibaba Group Holding Ltd reportedly plans to split its $220 billion business into six main units covering e-commerce, media and the cloud, each of which will explore fundraising or initial public offerings.  The announcement was made one day after Jack Ma returned to China following a year-stay abroad.  

Truck stop wars.  Convenience store operator Arko Corp has offered to buy truck stop operator TravelCenters of America Inc. for $1.4 billion, trumping BP’s $1.3 billion offer in mid-February that was accepted by TravelCenters.  Despite being a higher offer, Arko indicated TravelCenters was not viewing its proposal favorably.  


Lateral Moves: 

  • Arnold & Porter hired partner James Bergin, who previously served as the top lawyer at the NY Federal Reserve.

Industry News:

  • According to The New York Post, Gregory A. Locke, a 33-year-old New York City administrative law judge, was moonlighting on OnlyFans and has now been fired by City officials for “unprofessional behavior”. He charged fans $12 a month on OnlyFans and produced more than 100 posts since he opened an account in November 2020.


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