Crypto brokerage Voyager Digital Holdings Inc. has hired a major law firm to investigate company insiders’ role in a massive loan to troubled hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.
Manhattan lawyer Susheel Kirpalani is leading the Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan team handling the probe, according to a Thursday court filing. Kirpalani is charging the company roughly $2,000-an-hour for his services.
Voyager in March lent Three Arrows 15,250 Bitcoins and $350 million before the hedge fund imploded, triggered by the TerraUSD stablecoin collapse and broader crypto asset declines, court documents show.
The coins and cash are valued at $674 million, according to a bankruptcy claim Voyager made this week against Three Arrows, which is liquidating assets in a British Virgin Islands court. It’s unclear if Voyager will collect its unsecured claim in the process, but it has said it’s pursuing “all available avenues” to collect the money.
The Quinn Emanuel legal team is looking into whether Voyager should bring claims against “insiders” related to the Three Arrows loan, according to a court document filed Thursday.
Kirpalani and the other lawyers are representing a Voyager special committee composed of two independent directors who joined the company when it filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month.
Kirpalani, chair of Quinn Emanuel’s bankruptcy and restructuring group, declined to comment on his appointment.
He’s a highly rated New York restructuring partner who has represented independent directors or special committees in the bankruptcies of J. Crew Group Inc., JC Penney Company Inc., and others. He also played a role in the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s defunct firm.
Kirpalani’s hourly rate is typically $2,130 an hour, the firm said in the court filing, but he and the other lawyers will provide a 10% discount on their rates, a standard practice in bankruptcy cases. Quinn Emanuel’s first-year associates on the case typically charge $830 an hour, according to the filing.
A handful of Big Law attorneys charge more than $2,000 an hour after billing rates surged during a period of intense demand for corporate lawyers over the past two years.
The Voyager special committee includes Jill Frizzley, a former Weil Gotshal & Manges restructuring partner who now provides independent board advisory services as president of Wildrose Partners.
Three Arrows’ founders, Su Zhu and Kyle Davies, resurfaced five weeks after the firms collapse, Bloomberg reported. The pair, compared the implosion to the failure of Long Term-Capital Management, is moving operations to Dubai.
Lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis are representing Voyager in the closely-watched bankruptcy case, which could provide important rulings on how crypto assets are treated in restructurings. The firm also represents troubled crypto lenders Celsius Network LLC and Babel Finance, as it has emerged as an early leader in restructuring advice to busted crypto firms.