Ordinarily, we would not make a statement about a scurrilous hit-piece on disreputable websites like Cryptoleaks. To dignify such an obvious fraud on us with a response usually makes no sense. Everyone should be able to see right through it.
I am disheartened to see people in the crypto space pay any attention to such obvious nonsense. These claims evidently came about when Kyle Roche, a lawyer at a firm we retained in the early days of our company, tried to impress a potential business partner by making false claims about the nature of his work for Ava Labs.
Let me tell you the truth about the lies that stood out the most to me:
The allegations on this site are categorically false. Ava Labs believes in transparency and facing the world head-on, not through behind-the-scenes dealing or activity.
Neither I, nor anyone else at Ava Labs ever directed Roche in his selection of cases. We do not receive materials or information from him, and we do not entrust our legal affairs to him. Roche himself confirmed this in a public statement. He has only represented Ava Labs in a defensive capacity in a couple run-of-the-mill corporate contract disputes and myself in a libel case. His firm is one of more than a dozen law firms we employ for matters relating to tax, corporate, regulatory, and human resources.
Roche has filed all their lawsuits independently of us. For instance, we learned about the Solana lawsuit only through the press, were livid that he was suing another project, and attempted to persuade him to drop the case. Ava Labs’ General Counsel went the extra mile to write an article debunking Roche’s lawsuit as meritless.
Roche is not responsible for regulatory matters for Ava Labs. We independently have good relationships with the regulatory community, with policymakers and with law enforcement. We hold ourselves to high standards and believe they recognize that.
Roche is not on our executive team, and we do not look to him for advice outside of the few small matters where he used to represent us. He has no say in our business decisions, legal decisions, how the company is run, or anything to do with the Avalanche protocol. He has handled only a few cases of minor importance for us in his area of competence.
Let me be absolutely clear: we do not engage in or support any underhanded tactics suggested in the article or the video clips. We believe in what we are building and do not need secret pacts or behind-the-scenes intrigue.
It is telling that the allegations surfaced on a disreputable website, as the third article in a series where the first article alleges a grand conspiracy by The New York Times against a crypto project, and the second alleges a multi-billion dollar price-fixing scheme by FTX against the same project’s token.
We will carry on building and otherwise working hard for the blockchain community. We encourage everyone to put aside pettiness, personal attacks, and fraudulent lies. Let’s keep building together.
Emin Gün Sirer
Update: Tuesday, September 13 at 4 p.m. ET:
Kyle Roche, former outside counsel to Ava Labs, has agreed to make a substantial donation of tokens to the Avalanche Foundation in conjunction with his stepping down as outside counsel and the redemption of his ownership stake in Ava Labs.
The donation will become part of the general funds of the Avalanche Foundation, which uses its resources to support the Avalanche public blockchain and its ecosystem through a series of grants, investments and services agreements.
In recognition of Mr. Roche’s donation, Roche Freedman LLP also announced a donation to the Avalanche Foundation’s general fund.
Ava Labs and Mr. Roche confirmed that he will no longer act as counsel to Ava Labs or the Avalanche Foundation. His equity interest in Ava Labs also will end.
Mr. Roche wants the Avalanche community to know that he apologizes for the situation that arose recently and hopes his gesture will help the ecosystem become stronger and achieve great things in the years to come.