The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has appointed New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal as Director of the Division of Enforcement.
The appointment will be effective from July 26, with the SEC adding the veteran prosecutor to its ranks to play a key role in regulating financial markets in the U.S.
“He has the ideal combination of experience, values, and leadership ability to helm the Enforcement Division at this critical time. I look forward to working closely with him to protect investors and root out wrongdoing in our markets," said SEC Chair Gary Gensler.
Grewal is a replacement for Alex Oh, who was appointed by Gensler, but was forced to step down in April after only a few days on the job.
Oh’s appointment sparked backlash over the history of her work defending corporations as a lawyer, in particular her representation of ExxonMobil, a case in which the defendants were accused of human rights abuses in indonesia.
Grewal is an Indian-American who grew up in New Jersey. The 48-year-old has served at state and federal levels, including the Economic Crimes Unit in which he led the prosecution of co-conspirators behind a $300 million global hacking and data breach scheme.
Grewal was also assigned to the Business and Securities Fraud Unit in the past, where he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.
He doesn’t appear to have any high profile crypto cases under his belt but does have experience prosecuting Ponzi schemes and securities fraud.
A notable case Grewal oversaw while in New Jersey, was the case against Eliyahu Weinstein, who pled guilty to running a real estate Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of $200 million.
Weinstein was sentenced to 22 years in prison and later admitted to another fraudulent scheme surrounding the Facebook initial public offering (IPO) back in 2012.
The SEC has been ramping up prosecutions of Initial Coin Offerings it considers securities in recent times . Cointelegraph reported on the on-going lawsuit between the SEC and Ripple Labs on June 25, and revealed that the regulatory body recently claimed that XRP token holders are using social media to “disseminate negative and false statements about members of SEC leadership.”
The lawsuit was initially filed by the SEC in December, alleging the firm engaged in unregistered securities offerings. The two parties have been locked in tense a battle throughout 2021.