Ex-Coinbase manager pleads guilty in first-ever insider trading case involving crypto

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Key Takeaways

  • Ishan Wahi will be sentenced to between 36 and 47 months in prison
  • Last month, Nikhil Wahi was sentenced to 10 months in prison for his role in insider trading
  • Ishan worked as a product manager assigned to a Coinbase asset listing team starting in October 2020.

Ishan Wahi, Ex- product manager at Coinbase Global, has pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the well-known Coinbase insider trading case.

 “Ishan Wahi – a former Coinbase product manager – admitted in court today that he tipped others regarding Coin base’s planned token listings so that they could trade in crypto assets for a profit,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams’s official statement reads.

Damian added that Wahi is the first insider to admit guilt in an insider trading case involving the crypto markets. As part of the plea deal, Ishan Wahi will be sentenced to between 36 and 47 months in prison. Wahi’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 10.

Earlier this week, Wahi’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss a complaint by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC), alleging that some of the crypto tokens under scrutiny in the Ex-manager’s case were unregistered securities. His lawyer argued the tokens were not securities and, therefore, Wahi should be absolved of securities fraud allegations.

In July 2022, the U.S. authorities charged Ishan Wahi, his brother Nikhil Wahi and their Indian-American friend Sameer Ramani with wire fraud conspiracy by using confidential information from Coinbase and making around $1.5 million in illicit money.

Ishan worked at Coinbase as a product manager assigned to a Coinbase asset listing team starting in October 2020. US Justice Department claims that on at least 14 occasions, Ishan knew in advance both that Coinbase planned to list particular crypto assets as well as the timing of its public announcements of those asset listings.

Ishan is accused of misappropriating confidential Coinbase confidential information by tipping either his brother or Ramani “so that they could place profitable trades in those crypto assets in advance of Coin base’s public listing announcements.” “Nikhil and Ramani regularly created and used new ETH blockchain wallets without any prior transaction history to conceal their involvement in the scheme,” the U.S. Department of Justice further added.

Last month, Nikhil Wahi was sentenced to 10 months in prison for his role in insider trading. Nikhil Wahi had already pleaded guilty in September for to engaging in trades utilizing confidential information. Another accused, Ramani, is, however, still at large.

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Saniya Raahath
Saniya Raahath

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