US charges ex-Coinbase manager in first crypto insider trading case

Ishan Wahi, 32, and his brother Nikhil Wahi, 26, are citizens of India and were residing in Seattle while Sameer Ramani, 33, resides in Houston.

A former product manager at Coinbase Global and two others have been charged with wire fraud in the first insider trading case involving the cryptocurrency, U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan said on Thursday.

Ishan Wahi, the product manager at the cryptocurrency exchange, and his brother Nikhil Wahi were arrested in Seattle on Thursday.

They and a third defendant, their friend Sameer Ramani, who remains at large, also face cvil charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Prosecutors said Ishan Wahi shared confidential information about forthcoming announcements of new cryptocurrency assets that Coinbase would allow users to trade through its exchange. His brother and Ramani allegedly traded at least 14 times before such announcements between June 2021 and April 2022, prosecutors said.

Nikhil Wahi and Ramani used ethereum blockchain wallets to acquire the assets before Coinbase’s announcements then sold those assets for a profit, prosecutors said.