Benjamin Naftalis is a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins, and member of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice and Financial Institutions Industry Group.
A former federal prosecutor, Mr. Naftalis is a trial lawyer who represents financial institutions, corporations, and individuals in white collar criminal defense and regulatory matters, internal corporate investigations, complex civil litigation, cybersecurity matters, and a range of other sensitive situations, throughout the US and internationally.
Prior to joining Latham, Mr. Naftalis served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 2006 to 2014. As a member of the Southern District’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, Mr. Naftalis investigated and prosecuted a wide range of white collar matters related to insider trading, accounting fraud, market manipulation and pump-and-dump schemes, broker-dealer and investment advisor fraud, mismarking of securities, dark pools and high-frequency trading, and virtual currencies. Among other notable cases, he successfully prosecuted the two former hedge fund managers of the US$8 billion Amerindo Investment Advisors fund and the principals of the multi-billion dollar WG Trading hedge fund.
As a member of the Southern District’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, Mr. Naftalis also led many of the government’s highest-profile extraterritorial, bilateral investigations and prosecutions in the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America involving terrorism and national security, arms trafficking, international money-laundering, and global narcotics trafficking that targeted senior al Qaeda and al Shabaab operatives and narcotics kingpins. He has conducted numerous investigations in parallel with US and foreign law-enforcement, intelligence services, and regulators such as the FBI, SEC, CFTC, FINRA, OFAC, DEA’s Special Operations Division, Department of Defense, Department of State, and High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.
Mr. Naftalis is also an experienced first-chair trial and appellate lawyer. As an Assistant US Attorney, Mr. Naftalis tried eight federal jury trials, and briefed and argued more than 10 appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, including addressing questions of first impression related to challenges to the extraterritorial reach of securities fraud prosecutions.
Mr. Naftalis has been recognized for his accomplishments in both government and private practice. In 2012, he received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service – the Department of Justice’s second-highest award – in connection with the successful investigation and prosecution of Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a senior al Shabaab commander and emissary to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), on terrorism-related charges. In 2016, Mr. Naftalis was named to Law360’s national list of “Rising Stars” in the White Collar area, and recognized as a “Rising Star” in New York by the New York Law Journal.
Prior to joining the US Attorney’s Office, Mr. Naftalis clerked for the Honorable Jed S. Rakoff of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Dennis Jacobs of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He began his career as a corporate development analyst at DoubleClick, later acquired by Google.
Mr. Naftalis is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.