- Former Coinbase product manager Ishan Wahi has settled insider trading charges with the SEC.
- The SEC accused Ishan of disclosing upcoming listing details to his brother.
- Nikhil and the friend allegedly made illicit trades and profited from at least nine crypto asset securities.
In a significant development in cryptocurrency, former Coinbase product manager Ishan Wahi and his brother, Nikhil Wahi, have agreed to settle insider trading charges. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused the brothers of engaging in a scheme to trade ahead of multiple announcements related to at least nine crypto asset securities.
Today former Coinbase product manager Ishan Wahi and his brother, Nikhil Wahi, agreed to settle charges that they engaged in insider trading through a scheme to trade ahead of multiple announcements regarding at least nine crypto asset securities.https://t.co/yt2hHEAJMV pic.twitter.com/6dy9KMd5mY
— U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (@SECGov) May 30, 2023
The SEC’s complaint, filed on July 21, 2022, alleged that Ishan Wahi while working at Coinbase. However, it facilitated the coordination of public listing announcements for the platform. Furthermore, it disclosed the crypto assets that would become available for trading. Despite Coinbase’s clear policies prohibiting such actions, Ishan repeatedly divulged upcoming listing details to his brother, Nikhil Wahi, and a friend, Sameer Ramani.
Between June 2021 and April 2022, Nikhil and Ramani purportedly took advantage of this nonpublic information to trade at least 25 crypto assets, nine of which were securities. Timing their purchases strategically before the official announcements, they would subsequently sell the assets for substantial profits following the anticipated price surge.
Crypto Market Integrity Upheld
The SEC’s investigation revealed that Ishan Wahi, who had access to confidential information as a product manager at Coinbase, allegedly shared this information with his brother, Nikhil Wahi, who used it to make illicit trades.
Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, emphasized that the SEC does not exempt crypto asset securities from insider trading regulations, stating:
“The federal securities laws do not exempt crypto asset securities from the prohibition against insider trading, nor does the SEC.”
The criminal action against Ishan and Nikhil Wahi resulted in their guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Ishan received a 24-month prison sentence and was ordered to forfeit 10.97 ether and 9,440 Tether. Nikhil was sentenced to 10 months in prison and must forfeit $892,500.
This case highlights the SEC’s commitment to upholding the integrity of the cryptocurrency market and ensuring fair trading practices. With the rapid growth of the crypto industry, regulators continue to monitor closely for illegal activities that undermine investor confidence.
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