Judge in Coinbase Insider Trading Case Says Secondary Market Sales Were Securities Transactions

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Written By Sedoso Feb

A US judge in Coinbase’s insider trading case is declaring that secondary market sales of crypto assets are considered securities transactions.

In July of 2022, the SEC filed a complaint accusing Ishan Wahi of giving his brother and a friend, Sameer Raman, confidential information about which crypto assets were to be supported by Coinbase.

The former Coinbase product manager Ishan Wahi and his brother, Nikhil Wahi, reached an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle charges arising from an insider trading scheme involving crypto assets.

According to new court documents, the exchanges made by the Wahi brothers and their friend qualify as investment contracts.

“Each issuer continued to make such representation

regarding the profitability of their tokens even as the tokens were traded on secondary markets…

Thus, under Howey [test], all of the crypto assets that Ramani purchased and traded were investment contracts.”

The court issued a default judgment against Ramani as he failed to respond to a court summons or appear in court. According to the filing, Ramani has fled the country.

Says the judge,

“Taking the allegations in the FAC (First Amended Complaint) as true, the Court finds that: (1) Ramani traded on material nonpublic information that he knew was provided to him in breach of Ishan’s duty as a Coinbase manager; and (2) Ramani’s misconduct was in connection with the purchase and sale of securities…

The allegations in the FAC establish that the tokens Ramani traded were offered and sold as investment contracts and, thus, were securities.”

Generated Image: Midjourney

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