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Celsius Network’s Former Executive Pleads Guilty to Crypto Market Manipulation Charges and Agrees to Cooperate with U.S. Authorities

CryptoCelsius Network's Former Executive Pleads Guilty to Crypto Market Manipulation Charges and Agrees to Cooperate with U.S. Authorities

Roni Cohen-Pavon, a former executive at Celsius Network, a bankrupt cryptocurrency lender founded by Alex Mashinsky, has pleaded guilty to multiple U.S. criminal charges. He has also agreed to cooperate with investigators. Cohen-Pavon, who served as Celsius’ former chief revenue officer, confessed to four charges, including manipulating the price of the crypto token Cel. This admission came during a hearing before U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan. As part of his plea agreement, Cohen-Pavon will assist the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan and the FBI in their investigations and is willing to testify in court if required.

Both Cohen-Pavon and Mashinsky had been charged with market manipulation and wire fraud in July for artificially inflating Cel’s value and selling their personal holdings before Celsius Network’s collapse in July 2022. Mashinsky, who allegedly made approximately $42 million from these sales, pleaded not guilty and was released on a $40 million bond.

Cohen-Pavon, an Israeli citizen, was overseas when the charges were filed. He is currently free on a $500,000 bond and can travel between New York and Israel. Lawyers for Cohen-Pavon and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, as well as Mashinsky’s lawyers, have not responded to requests for comments.

Crypto lending platforms like Celsius experienced rapid growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering easy loans and high interest rates to depositors while lending tokens to institutional investors to profit from the spread. However, Celsius faced significant customer withdrawals when cryptocurrency prices declined, ultimately leading to its collapse.

Cohen-Pavon’s plea agreement suggests that his cooperation may be taken into consideration during his sentencing, scheduled for December 11, 2024. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan has charged other crypto executives with fraud, including FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty and faces a trial on October 3.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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