The first insider trading conviction just happened in crypto markets, with Ishan Wahi, Coinbase’s former product manager, pleading guilty
Ishan Wahi, a former product manager at Coinbase Global, has confessed to committing wire fraud conspiracy in connection with an insider trading scheme.
He admitted to sharing confidential information about Coinbase’s planned token listings for personal gain, making him the first individual to confess guilt in an insider trading case in the cryptocurrency market.
Wahi also confessed to providing confidential information about Coinbase’s planned token listings to others for personal profit. This makes Wahi the first insider to admit guilt in an insider trading case involving the cryptocurrency market.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, stated that insider trading, whether in the equity markets or cryptocurrency markets, is a serious federal crime. The office will use its decades of experience in pursuing insider trading cases to prosecute this crime in any form it takes.
Wahi worked as a product manager at Coinbase and had detailed knowledge of the company’s plans to list new crypto assets.
He shared this confidential information with two individuals, Nikhil Wahi and Sameer Ramani, who engaged in profitable trades around Coinbase’s public announcements. The trading activity was noticed and reported by a well-known crypto community Twitter account, which prompted Coinbase to investigate the matter. Wahi purchased a one-way flight to India before he was supposed to be interviewed by Coinbase, but was stopped by law enforcement from leaving the country.
The case was handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, and the prosecution was carried out by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Noah Solowiejczyk and Nicolas Roos.
Wahi is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska on May 10, 2023, and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count.
The U.S. Attorney praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and acknowledged the assistance of the Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which initiated separate civil proceedings against Wahi.
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