Ex-Coinbase Exec Takes on SEC in Epic Battle Over Insider Trading Charges!
Ishan Wahi, a former Coinbase product manager, has filed to dismiss the insider trading accusations against him by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Ishan and his brother, Nikhil Wahi, have been accused of profiting $1,1 million by insider trading of tokens in forthcoming Coinbase listings. In a motion filed on February 6, 2023, in the Western District of Washington, Wahi’s lawyers argued that the cryptocurrencies traded by the brothers did not fit the definition of security.
The lawyers explained that the tokens were utility tokens with a primary use on a platform rather than as an investment product and that the developers of the tokens had no obligations to buyers on secondary markets.
SEC v. The Wahi Brothers
The SEC has charged the Wahi brothers and their associate, Sameer Ramani, with insider trading for allegedly purchasing at least 25 cryptocurrencies before their listing on Coinbase and selling them for a profit shortly after the listing.
However, the lawyers representing the Wahi brothers have criticized the SEC for attempting to regulate the cryptocurrency industry through enforcement action without clear congressional authorization.
In addition to the SEC charges, the Wahi brothers and Ramani also faced charges of wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. While Nikhil Wahi pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 10 months in prison in January 2023, Ishan Wahi has pleaded not guilty and Ramani remains at large.
The motion to dismiss the charges was signed by ten attorneys from five different law firms. The outcome of the motion will determine the continuation of the case, which is being overseen by District Judge Tana Lin.
The Story Uncovered
In August 2022, Ishan and Nikhil Wahi were charged with insider trading, which included wire fraud conspiracy and making $1.1 million through illegal trades in 25 different cryptocurrencies. The brothers allegedly used confidential information from Coinbase to make illegal trades.
Ishan was part of the team responsible for listing assets on Coinbase’s exchanges and had access to advanced knowledge of which assets would be listed and when. They face a maximum sentence of 20 years each.
Their friend, Sameer Ramani, was also charged but remains at large. Coinbase publicly condemned the actions and stated that anyone who leaked confidential information would be terminated and referred to authorities.