Kyle Roche, a top cryptocurrency lawyer, was allegedly set up by an international group of businessmen, according to a report by The New York Times. The setup destroyed Roche’s career after he was exposed as being corruptly beholden to Avalanche founder Ava Labs. The incident began in December 2021 when Roche received an email from a trusted source introducing him to Mauricio Andres Villavicencio de Aguilar, a businessman who presented himself as an associate of Christen Ager-Hanssen, a venture capitalist. Roche met both men at Ager-Hanssen’s townhouse office in London where he bragged about his close relationship with Ava Labs.
The Meeting and the Recording
Roche claimed that he was coaxed into bragging about his relationship with Ava Labs during the meeting. He said that Ager-Hanssen pressed his index finger to Roche’s forehead, which he found intimidating. Roche said that he wished he had left the meeting when he realized that something was off. He later told the businessmen that he had been granted 1% of the total supply of AVAX tokens, which he later admitted was exaggerated. The conversation was secretly recorded by Villavicencio and later released as part of a 20+ video compilation that presented both Ava Labs and Roche’s law firm as corrupt for deliberately launching spurious lawsuits against competitors, including Solana Labs.
Roche appeared at a restaurant with the two men later that evening, where he was recorded confessing to suing other companies on behalf of Ava Labs. The lawyer now claims that these were all made-up claims to try and impress a prospective investor, and that he had been given a drink he suspects was laced with drugs while at the restaurant, though he has no proof. Roche Freedman parted ways with its founder last year after the video leak. Roche was also removed as lead counsel in a major lawsuit against crypto exchange Bitfinex and stablecoin issuer Tether, with the judge calling his recorded comments “uniquely stupid.”
The Allegations and Roche’s Defense
The videos present allegations that Roche’s law firm had been launching spurious lawsuits against competitors, including Solana Labs. Roche claimed that the accusations were fabricated, and that the videos were part of an international setup that led to his downfall. The case raises questions about the vulnerability of high-profile individuals in the cryptocurrency industry, and the lengths that some may go to in order to gain an advantage.
The fallout from the incident has been severe for Roche, who has been disbarred and had his reputation damaged. The case also highlights the importance of due diligence and caution in business dealings, particularly in the volatile and unregulated world of cryptocurrency. The incident has also raised concerns about the use of secret recordings in business dealings, and the potential for such recordings to be used as leverage or blackmail. Roche is now attempting to rebuild his career and reputation, but the incident has had a lasting impact on his life and career.
The case of Kyle Roche highlights the risks and challenges faced by individuals in the cryptocurrency industry, and the importance of caution and due diligence in business dealings. The incident raises questions about the use of secret recordings and the potential for such recordings to be used for leverage or blackmail. The aftermath of the incident has been severe for Roche, who has been disbarred and had his reputation damaged. The case serves as a warning to others in the industry to be vigilant and cautious in their dealings.