Federal agents arrested a former Coinbase product manager and his brother Thursday on charges they used the cryptocurrency exchange to orchestrate a year-long insider trading scheme that netted $1.5 million in illegal profits.
Ishan Wahi is alleged to have used his position helping coordinate Coinbase’s listings of new tokens to tip off his brother, Nikhil Wahi, and a friend, who bought the digital assets before their debut on the platform caused their price to rise.
Coinbase is not implicated in any wrongdoing, and Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement it cooperated with the probe. A Coinbase spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Wahi brothers were arrested Thursday morning in Seattle, the New York prosecutor’s office said in a statement. Their friend who is alleged to have participated in the scheme, Sameer Ramani, remains at large.
“Our message with these charges is clear: fraud is fraud is fraud, whether it occurs on the blockchain or on Wall Street,” Williams said in a statement. “And the Southern District of New York will continue to be relentless in bringing fraudsters to justice, wherever we may find them.”
The case is the second in as many months in which an employee at a prominent digital asset exchange is accused of abusing insider information. In June, federal prosecutors in New York charged a former executive at OpenSea, the largest platform for trading non-fungible tokens, with buying NFTs based on his knowledge they would soon be listed on the online marketplace’s homepage.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Read More:Former Coinbase manager arrested on crypto insider-trading charges