Former Coinbase manager and two others charged in insider trading conspiracy

The logo of Coinbase Global Inc, the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, is displayed on the Nasdaq MarketSite jumbotron and others at Times Square in New York, U.S., April 14, 2021.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Three people have been charged in the first crypto insider trading limit scheme, based on United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

US Attorney Damian Williams accused Ishan Wahi, a former product manager at Coinbase, his brother, Nikhil Wahi, and a friend, Sameer Ramani, with a phone scam and fraud conspiracy involving a conspiracy to conduct insider trading of crypto assets. The allegations allege the individuals plan to use Coinbase’s confidential information on which crypto assets are planned to be listed on Coinbase exchanges.

The release also said that Ishan Wahi attempted to flee to India prior to a scheduled interview by Coinbase’s security department, but was prevented by law enforcement.

“Today’s fees are an extra reminder that Web3 is not an area without laws,” Williams said in the statement. “Our message with these fees is clear: fraud is fraud is fraud, whether it happens on the blockchain or on Wall Street. And the Southern District of New York will continue to relentlessly deliver those fraudsters to justice, wherever we can find them.”

Ishan Wahi and Nikhil Wahi were arrested Thursday morning in Seattle, and Ramani is still a teenager.

Correction: Damian Williams is the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. An earlier version misspelled his name.

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