The brother of an ex-Coinbase manager has pleaded guilty to an insider trading charge

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Last Updated on September 13, 2022 by Bitfinsider

Insider trading charges have begun to surface in the cryptocurrency markets. The indictment of former OpenSea head of product Nate Chastain was easily the biggest story in this topic in recent months. This week, the brother of an ex-Coinbase manager pled guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy charge, bringing the gavel down once more.

Nikhil Wahi, 26, admitted guilt in a virtual court hearing before Manhattan Judge Loretta Preska to a wire fraud conspiracy charge stemming from Wahi’s engaged trading based on confidential Coinbase information. Prosecutors claimed that Nikhil’s brother, Ishan Wahi, shared insider information about upcoming crypto listings with Nikhil and their friend Sameer Ramani. Prior to being announced as a Coinbase-supported token, listings on Coinbase frequently saw a price run-up. According to reports, Nikhil Wahi and Sameer Ramani used insider information to acquire the assets “at least 14 times before Coinbase announcements in June 2021 and April 2022.” Prosecutors stated that the profits from those trades exceeded $1.5 million.

Wahi told the judge that he “knew it was wrong,” and his guilty plea, which is scheduled for sentencing in December, will result in his deportation to India. His brother, former Coinbase employee Ishan Wahi, has pleaded not guilty and has a court date in March 2023. Ramani, who faces charges as well, was based in Houston but has not been found.

The case of Ishan and Nikhil Wahi, as well as Sameer Ramani, has been at the center of ongoing drama and debate surrounding Coinbase’s listing process, which has been a frequent source of contention for those familiar with the token landscape. This recently came to a head when crypto influencer Cobie engaged in a back-and-forth with Coinbase Wallet engineering lead Peter Jihoon Kim. Cobie’s assistance in exposing insider trading at Coinbase is widely regarded as a major pillar in ‘cleaning up’ the exchange’s token listing process.

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