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Indian national convicted in cryptocurrency insider trading case for the first time in the US

A 26-year-old Indian national has confessed to a crime for the first time cryptocurrency insider trading Case in America, in which he along with his brother and their Indian-American friend made illegal profits of more than one million dollars.

Nikhil Wahi, a citizen of India and resident of Seattle, pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to wire fraud and wire fraud in connection with a plan to conduct insider trading in cryptocurrency assets using confidential Coinbase information about which listed crypto assets had to go. Coinbase Exchange.

Coinbase was one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

This is the first time that the defendant has pleaded guilty to an insider trading case involving the cryptocurrency markets in the US.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He is to be sentenced by Judge Presca on 13 December.

In July this year, Nikhil and his 32-year-old elder brother Ishaan, their Indian-American friend Samir Ramani, 33, who lived in Houston, were first accused in a cryptocurrency insider trading scheme.

Prosecutors said all three were first charged with a cryptocurrency insider trading tipping scheme, in which defendants illegally traded in at least 25 different crypto assets and obtained approximately $1.5 million in illegal profits.

United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said Nikhil, who was arrested in July, had appealed to U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Convicted before Presca.

“Less than two months after the allegations were made, Nikhil Wahi admitted in court today that he traded in crypto assets based on confidential business information from Coinbase to which he was not entitled. He has admitted his guilt in the insider trading case involving the markets,” Williams said.

He said the guilty plea should serve as a reminder to those who participate in the cryptocurrency markets that authorities will continue to police fraud of all stripes and adapt as technology develops.

“Nikhil Wahi is now awaiting sentencing for his crime and will have to forfeit his illegal profits as well,” Williams said.
According to the allegations made in the indictment and statements made in public court proceedings, from approximately October 2020, Ishaan worked at Coinbase as a Product Manager assigned to a Coinbase Asset Listing team.

In that role, he was involved in the highly confidential process of listing crypto assets on Coinbase’s exchanges and had detailed and advanced knowledge of which crypto assets Coinbase was planning to list and the public about those crypto asset listings. It was time for announcements.

On several occasions between July 2021 and May 2022, after Ishan received suggestions about which crypto assets Coinbase was planning to list on its exchanges, Nikhil used an anonymous Ethereum blockchain wallet to acquire those crypto assets. did, before Coinbase publicly announced that it was listing them. its exchange.

Following Coinbase’s public listing announcements, Nikhil has on several occasions sold crypto assets for a good profit.

In order to hide his purchases of crypto assets prior to the Coinbase listing announcements, Nikhil used accounts in centralized exchanges held in the names of others, and transferred funds, crypto assets and proceeds of his plan through several anonymous Ethereum blockchain wallets. did.

Nikhil also created and used new Ethereum blockchain wallets without any prior transaction history to hide his involvement in the scheme.

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