Former SEC Director Deep Ties to Cryptocurrency Mining Maker Causes Pause for Conflict of Interest

The case of William Hinman provides a cautionary tale. Hinman left one of the nation’s top tech law firms in 2017 to take the helm at the Securities Exchange Commission’s Corporation Finance Division, where he won accolades for introducing policies intended to protect investors in an industry regarded as a kind of Wild West.

But from his perch, he also appears to have weighed in on issues involving the interests of his old firm – Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett – whose clients include some of the biggest players in the cryptocurrency marketplace and some with ties to China.

Hinman’s appointment has raised conflict-of-interest questions with some people in the industry. For starters, he received an annual pension from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett that totaled about $1.6 million while at the SEC, vastly larger than his SEC salary.

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