Ex-Coinbase Manager’s Brother Pleads Guilty To Insider Trading
Nikhil Wahi, brother of the former Coinbase Product Manager, pleaded guilty to insider trading in court yesterday.
The brother of former Coinbase manager Ishan Wahi pleaded guilty to insider trading in court. This is the first case of sanctioned insider trading in the cryptocurrency market.
“I knew that it was wrong to receive Coinbase’s confidential information and make trades based on that confidential information,” Nikhil Wahi told the judge.
Damien Williams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York said in a statement:
“Less than two months after he was charged, Nikhil Wahi admitted in court today that he traded in crypto assets based on Coinbase’s confidential business information to which he was not entitled.”
“For the first time ever, a defendant has admitted his guilt in an insider trading case involving the cryptocurrency markets. Today’s guilty plea should serve as a reminder to those who participate in the cryptocurrency markets that the Southern District of New York will continue to steadfastly police frauds of all stripes and will adapt as technology evolves,” Williams continued.
Nikhil will be sentenced in December, which could result in up to 20 years in prison. According to Williams, he has also been forced to return the money he received from the illegal Coinbase trade.
The Justice Department charged Ishan, Nikhil, and their buddy Sameer Ramani with wire fraud conspiracy and wire fraud relating to bitcoin insider trading in July. The Securities and Exchange Commission also charged the three.
Ishan allegedly communicated insider knowledge of impending Coinbase listing announcements with Nikhil and Sameer while working at the exchange in order to profit from the listings by purchasing the tokens before they went live on Coinbase.
Ishan pled not guilty to the DOJ’s charges in August. It’s unclear how Ishan’s case will progress now that his brother has pled guilty, and whether he will continue to fight the insider trading case.
According to a statement made by the DOJ on Monday, Nikhil accused his brother Ishan and admitted to obtaining information from him. Nikhil then allegedly utilized many cryptocurrency wallets in the names of others to conceal his insider trading.
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