Russell Johnston is a partner in and co-head of the Firm’s Litigation Group. He focuses on internal investigations, regulatory inquiries, enforcement actions, and compliance counseling. As both a former Senior Counsel in FINRA’s Department of Enforcement and in private practice representing financial institutions and individuals, he’s worked extensively on matters addressing anti-money laundering, anti-corruption, economic sanctions, securities fraud, market manipulation, sales practice supervision, market regulation, and the use of crowdfunding and digital assets.
He also advises multinational corporations, across a wide range of sectors, on complex financial crime compliance matters. In this field, he’s led worldwide internal investigations, assisted clients in cooperating with regulatory inquiries, conducted due diligence prior to M&A transactions, and prepared corporate officers for congressional hearings. Russell has also provided financial crime compliance training, best practices, and policy formation to both clients and fellow attorneys, and assisted in the UK Parliament Select Committee’s creation of the Bribery Act.
While at FINRA, Russell served as the lead attorney on some of the organization’s most complex matters, including historic enforcement actions regarding anti-money laundering violations, sales practice supervision issues, and the most significant penalties and restitution programs emanating from the Puerto Rico debt crisis. He also served as counsel on several of FINRA’s earliest fintech-related matters, including the first enforcement action addressing the use of distributed ledger technology, and served as the first and primary counsel to the funding portal examination program. In addition, he served as counsel on numerous matters addressing member applications, corporate finance issues, and advertising regulations for broker-dealers of all shape and size.