Alex Mashinsky out on $40M bail; ‘vehemently’ denies fraud charges
Former Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky was released on a $40 million bail on July 13, the same day he was arrested after being charged with multiple counts of fraud, according to a CNN report.
Mashinsky’s lawyer Jonathan Ohring told CNN that the former CEO “vehemently” denies all charges and intends to “vigorously” fight them in court.
The bail bond was secured via Mashinsky’s residence in Manhattan, New York — which is currently valued at $40 million.
Federal prosecutors charged Mashinsky after an investigation into the collapse of Celsius Network uncovered evidence of it claims to be widespread fraud. He is also facing charges from the SEC, the CFTC, and the FTC.
The indictment filed in New York states that the former CEO misled and “scammed” customers into depositing their assets under the pretense of operating a crypto lender.
According to the fillings:
“Mashinsky operated Celsius as a risky investment fund, taking in customer money under false and misleading pretenses and turning customers into unwitting investors in a business far riskier and far less profitable than what Mashinsky had represented.”
The charges levied against the former CEO include securities fraud, wire fraud and commodities fraud.
Additionally, Mashinsky and Celsius Network’s former chief revenue officer Roni Cohen-Pavon are also accused of manipulating the price of the network’s native token CEL in an effort to sell it at higher prices.
Crackdown on crypto fraud
The indictment against Mashinsky is the latest in a string of moves by regulators and law enforcement to clamp down on fraud in the crypto industry.
High-profile implosions in the sector during 2022 — like FTX and Celsius — have caused the public to question the adequacy of laws and regulatory oversight in recent months.
In turn, politicians are urging regulators and law enforcement to take a more proactive approach to restoring trust in the system. Lawmakers are also working on establishing a proper framework for the crypto industry to ensure the sector can be brought under the regulatory umbrella.
Part of the lawmakers’ effort aims to enhance clarity around the age-old question of whether a cryptocurrency is a security or not, which seems to be the crux of many of the industry’s regulatory woes.