Ex-Coinbase Product Manager Admits Guilt in Insider Trading Scandal

Written by Johnson Philip

Ishan Wahi, once a high-ranking product manager at Coinbase Global Inc., has confessed to participating in a scheme of wire fraud. This landmark case, dubbed by U.S. authorities as the initial insider trading scandal in the cryptocurrency realm, has led to Wahi pleading guilty to two charges of conspiracy.

Reuters reports that the prosecution accuses Wahi of sharing confidential information with his brother Nikhil and friend Sameer Ramani about upcoming announcements of new tradable digital assets on Coinbase. This led to a surge in asset value, resulting in Nikhil and Sameer illicitly making over $1.5 million.

The two have been charged with utilizing Ethereum (ETH) blockchain wallets to acquire digital assets and conduct trades prior to the Coinbase announcements.

“I knew that Sameer Ramani and Nikhil Wahi would use that information to make trading decisions,” Ishan Wahi admitted during Tuesday’s hearing in a Manhattan federal court. “It was wrong to misappropriate and disseminate Coinbase’s property,” he added.

Ishan Wahi has agreed to serve 36 to 47 months in prison as part of his plea agreement. He is set to face his sentencing on May 10th. Meanwhile, his brother Nikhil has already admitted guilt and received a 10-month prison sentence. Sameer Ramani, on the other hand, is still at large. Coinbase’s internal investigation into the trading has been made available to the prosecutors.

U.S. prosecutors recommended a 10-16 month prison sentence for Nikhil Wahi due to the fact that he profited nearly $900,000 from his illegal actions. However, his defense lawyers suggested a different outcome, arguing that his motivation for the crime was to repay his parents for his college education and that he had a clean criminal record.

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