Roni Cohen-Pavon, the former chief revenue officer of cryptocurrency lending firm Celsius, has reportedly pleaded guilty to charges related to fraud and price manipulation.
According to a Sept. 13 filing in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Cohen-Pavon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit price manipulation, securities fraud, manipulation of security prices, and wire fraud. He will be free on bail until a Dec. 11 sentencing hearing.
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 14, 2023
Reuters reported the guilty plea was part of an agreement with prosecutors requiring Cohen-Pavon to make restitution to parties affected by the collapse of Celsius. Former CEO Alex Mashinsky allegedly made roughly $42 million in profits from sales of the CEL token by artificially inflating the price, while Cohen-Pavon earned roughly $3.6 million.
The U.S. Justice Department announced charges against the two former Celsius executives in July, but Cohen-Pavon’s whereabouts — as a resident of Israel — had been largely unknown at the time. Mashinsky pleaded not guilty to all charges and at the time of publication was free on a $40-million bond.
Amid the legal proceedings, a federal judge allowed U.S. authorities to freeze some of Mashinsky’s assets, including certain bank accounts and an Austin, Texas property. On Sept. 11, lawyers for the former Celsius CEO filed a motion seeking the dismissal of the Federal Trade Commission’s case against him, arguing the allegations do not meet the standards for a claim.
Celsius Network’s bankruptcy case, filed in July 2022, was ongoing at the time of publication. A settlement plan proposed in August will go before a bankruptcy judge in October.