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Seward & Kissel adds SEC Senior Counsel to team

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Philip Moustakis, most recently a senior counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, has joined law firm Seward & Kissel.

Moustakis spent more than a decade in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement in New York, where he served a lengthy tenure in the Asset Management Unit and was a member of the Cyber Unit since its formation in 2017. He will work closely with several of Seward & Kissel’s practice areas in both New York and Washington DC, including the Government Enforcement and Internal Investigations Group, the Investment Management Group, and the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Group.
 
As a member of the SEC’s Asset Management Unit from 2012-2017, his notable matters included work investigating two wealth management subsidiaries of a global financial services and banking firm for failing to disclose conflicts of interest across the company’s wealth management franchise, as well as investigating an adviser to private funds for insider trading and a mis-marking scheme. For these and other cases, Moustakis frequently worked with the Department of Justice. While at the SEC, Moustakis was also instrumental in cryptocurrency-related matters, initiating the SEC’s involvement in the space in 2013 with the Commission’s first Bitcoin-related enforcement action against the operator of a Bitcoin-denominated Ponzi scheme. He advised the Commission on cryptocurrencies, and conducted trainings on the emerging technology for the SEC, FBI, and FINRA. Before joining the SEC, Moustakis served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Investor Protection Bureau of the New York Attorney General’s Office, where he helped bring a landmark case against a global insurance organisation over deceptive business practices, ultimately securing a USD818 million settlement.
 
“Philip has earned great respect within the securities bar for his proven ability to investigate and prosecute major enforcement actions, often at the cutting edge of the law,” says Jim Cofer, managing partner of Seward & Kissel. “The insights he has gained from years of government practice at the highest levels will strengthen our existing capabilities and be immensely valuable to our clients across all areas of the firm.”
 
At Seward & Kissel, Moustakis will work with the Government Enforcement and Internal Investigations Group to advise companies and individuals on SEC enforcement matters, internal investigations, and other regulatory and criminal matters, including those that may arise for the firm’s financial services and shipping industry clients. In addition, Moustakis will work with the firm’s Investment Management Group, and will be a valuable resource for Seward & Kissel Regulatory Compliance (SKRC), which provides an innovative suite of compliance services to registered investment advisors. His prior experience at the SEC will also enable Moustakis to be an invaluable resource to Seward & Kissel’s Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Group, an interdisciplinary group that advises clients on issues arising from investments in assets based on blockchain or distributed ledger technology, including cryptocurrencies and other cryptoassets such as utility coins and tokens.
 
“I’m very eager to join Seward & Kissel’s well-regarded team,” Moustakis says. “I look forward to working with this great collection of lawyers, and bringing my experience to bear on our clients’ most pressing legal issues across a variety of practice areas.”
 
Moustakis received his JD from New York University School of Law, and a BA, cum laude, from Purchase College. He is a four-time recipient of the SEC Division of Enforcement’s Director’s Award.

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