A former Coinbase product manager has pleaded not guilty to insider trading.
Ishan Wahi, 32, pleaded not guilty in a Wednesday hearing to charges of wire fraud which allegedly occurred while working at the crypto exchange Coinbase, Reuters has reported.
The Justice Department charged Wahi with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with an insider trading scheme in an indictment filed July 21 in New York.
Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed insider trading charges against Wahi on the same day. According to SEC's filing, Wahi allegedly shared Coinbase listing announcements in advance to his brother Nikhil Wahi and friend Sameer Ramani. Nikhil Wahi and Ramani then allegedly took that insider knowledge to trade before announcements went live and gained over $1.1 million in profits.
The SEC alleges that Ishan Wahi, who is of Indian nationality on a work visa in the U.S., used an international phone number to communicate insider trading knowledge via phone calls and text messages, according to the filing.
Ishan allegedly shared insider information in advance of at least 14 different Coinbase listing announcements for over 25 different cryptocurrencies.
“As part of an insider trading scheme, Ishan Wahi violated his duties of trust and confidence to Coinbase,” the Justice Department argued in its filing.
The Wahi brothers and Ramani also allegedly “took numerous steps to evade detection from law enforcement” by moving their cryptocurrencies across multiple different Ethereum wallets and even wallets held in others’ names, according to the indictment.
“Today’s charges are a further reminder that Web3 is not a law-free zone,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a press release when the charges were initially filed.
The Justice Department also alleged in its indictment that Ishan Wahi “purchased a one-way airline ticket to a foreign country in an unsuccessful attempt to flee from the United States.”
While the Wahi brothers have been arrested, Ramani’s whereabouts are unknown.
Ishan’s counsel, public defender Corey Endo, did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment.