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New CFTC Chair Massad Taps Former Federal Prosecutor to Head Enforcement

One week after the U.S. Senate confirmed the Obama administration's appointment of Timothy Massad as the new chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), he got down to business on Wednesday by naming Aitan Goelman as the agency’s director of the Division of Enforcement.

Goelman is a former federal prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience litigating both criminal and civil matters and will be joining the CFTC from the law firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, where he has been a litigation partner for 11 years. Goelman’s practice has focused on white collar crime and complex commercial litigation.

“Aitan brings valuable experience in government and private practice, as well as a strong commitment to public service," Massad said. "He will be a tough, aggressive and fair leader at a critical time in the Commission’s history."

Goelman will be taking over the position from Gretchen L. Lowe, who had been named acting director of the Division of Enforcement by then-Chairman Gary Gensler in October 2013.

Prior to his time with Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, Goelman served in the Department of Justice for nine years, including as an assistant U. S. attorney in the Southern District of New York and as a special attorney to the U.S. attorney general. At Justice, he handled white collar criminal cases involving bank, wire, mail and securities fraud, as well as RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and violent crimes. Goelman was also one of the trial lawyers that convicted the Oklahoma City bombers.

“I am pleased to return to public service and excited to join the CFTC at this important time when vigorous enforcement is more vital than ever,” Goelman said. “It is an honor to be able to play a part in helping the Commission fulfill its crucial mission of maintaining the integrity of the futures and swaps markets. I am committed to continuing, and building on, the good work of Gretchen and David Meister and all the hardworking and dedicated staff of the Division of Enforcement.”

In addition to confirming Massad last week, the Senate confirmed securities attorney Sharon Y. Bowen to fill a vacant Democratic seat and rounded out the panel with Republican brokerage firm executive J. Christopher Giancarlo (see Daily GPI, June 9; June 4). The reconfigured CFTC will face its share of challenges.

Late last month, several energy industry trade associations including the American Petroleum Institute and the American Gas Association, joined other entities to urge the CFTC to amend swaps rules enacted by the Dodd Frank Financial Reform Act, arguing the rules in their current form pose a significant financial burden to the industry. Industry said the Commission should fix problems with the current swaps rules before adopting new ones, and should limit the swaps data collected to just what is specifically needed by CFTC to do its job (see Daily GPI, May 28).

Also late last month, the CFTC made a trio of moves designed to remedy problems encountered by the energy industry from Dodd-Frank (see Daily GPI, May 27). The agency issued a proposed rule amendment to amend the definition of a swap dealer; scheduled a public roundtable on June 19 at the agency's headquarters in Washington, DC, to discuss position limits for physical commodity derivatives; and issued a no-action letter providing some regulatory relief to members of designated contract markets and swap execution facilities.

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