Nikhil Wahi, who was arrested for conspiring with his brother and an associate to carry out insider trading using crypto, has been charged with wire fraud.
According to a Reuters report on Monday, Wahi admitted to authorities during a virtual hearing that he used confidential information from Coinbase to profit from crypto trading. Wahi’s brother Ishaan worked as a product manager at Coinbase, where he reportedly shared information about the tokens’ early dates with his brother and colleague Sameer Ramani. The trio allegedly used the inside information to make nearly $1.5 million in profits trading 25 different cryptocurrencies between 2021 and 2022.
“I knew it was wrong to receive Coinbase’s confidential information and trade based on that confidential information,” Wahi said in court.
The brother of the former manager of Coinbase has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges https://t.co/c6ak7oRr9K pic.twitter.com/5uBUHxyQar
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 12, 2022
Wahi and his brother were arrested and charged in Seattle in July, while Ramani was in custody at the time of publication but is still facing similar charges. According to Cointelegraph, Ishaan pleaded not guilty in August to charges of conspiracy to defraud and wire fraud. Nikhil initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea as part of a deal with prosecutors, according to Reuters.
In a parallel lawsuit against the trio, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complained that Wahis and Ramani violated anti-fraud securities laws. The same filing claims that at least 9 of the 25 tokens involved in the insider trading scheme are “crypto asset securities” regulated by the SEC. Critics of the case say the regulator was taking an “executive rulemaking” approach rather than waiting for legislation to clarify the SEC’s role.
Related: Prosecutors want to claim NFTs as collateral, according to a former OpenSea employee’s legal team.
On September 8, Coinbase announced support for Tornado Cash users who sued the US Treasury Department, saying the department illegally added the crypto mixer’s smart contract addresses to the State Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, said the exchange “had a responsibility to protect the crypto industry from excessive activity and treat crypto on an uneven playing field.”