Ex-Coinbase manager pleads guilty to insider trading charges

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A former employee of global crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc. (NASDAQ:COIN) has pleaded guilty to charges related to a crypto insider trading case.

Ishan Wahi, who was charged with participating in a scheme that saw him share insider information about Coinbase’s listing of tokens, pleaded guilty on Tuesday.

Former Coinbase employee pleads guilty in first crypto insider trading case

Wahi, a former Coinbase product manager, acknowledged his role in the scheme, noting he shared confidential information with his brother and the brother’s friend ahead of tokens being listed on the exchange, Reuters reported.

The ex-Coinbase manager said he knew it was wrong to share the information about the digital assets, whose listing announcement on Coinbase usually resulted in the token’s respective prices rising. He told US District Judge Lorreta Preska that he was sorry for misappropriating and disseminating the details, which was Coinbase property.

Wahi’s guilty plea related to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. His plea comes just a few weeks after his brother Nikhil Wahi was jailed for 10 months over the insider trading case. Sameer Ramani, Nikhil’s friend, is yet to be arrested.

The SEC charged Ishan Wahi, Nikhil Wahi and Sameer Ramani with insider trading in July 2022, the first insider trading case involving cryptocurrency. The securities regulator had also indicated that many of the tokens involved were securities, a call Coinbase rejected.

As recently reported, a US court dismissed allegations in a class action lawsuit that the exchange had listed unregistered securities.

Wahi’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for 10 May this year, with a possible prison term of 36 to 47 months awaiting him.

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