SEC Chief Who Pursued Actions Against ICOs, Kik to Resign

Robert A. Cohen pursued actions against a number ICOs and crypto exchange platforms as Cyber Unit chief. He will resign in August.

Jul 29, 2019 at 9:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:15 a.m. UTC

The Securities and Exchange Commision’s (SEC) chief of the Cyber Unit will step down in August, according to a statement.

Robert A. Cohen will abdicate his role as executive enforcer for the cyber division founded in 2017, after 15 years of SEC service.

"I’m grateful to Rob for his thoughtfulness, expertise and leadership in taking on the creation of the Cyber Unit," said Chairman Jay Clayton. "He leaves the unit well-positioned to continue the critical work of protecting our markets and retail investors in this complex and continually developing area.

The cyber unit’s mandate includes policing financial violations involving digital assets, cyber crimes including hacking and information theft, and the disclosures regarding cybersecurity by public companies.

For his part, Cohen led several investigations into initial coin offerings, including launching a lawsuit against Kik Interactive for conducting an illegal $100 million ICO, as an attempt to raise funds to prop up no-longer profitable parts of its business.

He also pursued a case against Centra Tech’s $32 million ICO, as well as celebrities Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer Khaled Khaled, known as DJ Khaled, for failing to disclose $100,000 payments they received for promoting Centra Tech’s ICO. Though the lawsuit has been formerly dismissed.

ERC20 token trading platform EtherDelta and its principle Zachary Coburn also came in Cohen’s spotlight for failing to comply with federal securities laws.

"It has been a privilege working with great colleagues at the SEC, whom I cannot thank enough for their commitment, perseverance, and friendship. I am proud of our work together, which has had a strong and positive impact for investors,” said Cohen.

Cohen joined the SEC in 2004, and prior to heading the Cyber Unit served as co-chief of the Market Abuse Team.

Robert A. Cohen Chief, Cyber Unit Securities and Exchange Commission, via CoinDesk archives


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