Former Celsius exec pleads guilty to criminal charges

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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 the 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.

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 Celsius (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.

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Related: Celsius Network files ‘adversary complaint’ against EquitiesFirst

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.

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