Today U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska passed a ten month prison sentence on Nikhil Wahi in relation to the Coinbase insider trading case.
Wahi’s brother Ishan used to work for Coinbase. When Ishan Wahi became aware of cryptocurrency tokens that were about to be listed on Coinbase, he allegedly tipped off his brother Nikhil and a friend Sameer Ramani. The Department of Justice claimed they earned $1.5 million from the scheme across 25 different crypto tokens.
Nikhil Wahi, the one sentenced today, pled guilty and was additionally ordered to pay $892,500. The former Coinbase employee Ishan Wahi pled not guilty and Ramani is still at large and thought to be outside of the United States, leaving in April 2022.
There is also a pending insider trading case by the SEC against the three, and the SEC has requested permission to serve papers on Ramani via WhatsApp or email. Ramani has a U.S. lawyer for the criminal proceedings.
“At a time when the cryptocurrency markets have been plagued by fear, uncertainty, and doubt, insider trading creates the impression that everything is rigged and that only people with secret advantages can make a real buck,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “Today’s sentence makes clear that the cryptocurrency markets are not lawless. There are real consequences to illegal insider trading, wherever and whenever it occurs.”
In related news, today Coinbase is the latest crypto firm to announce staff cuts, letting go of 950 employees.