Former chief revenue officer at Celsius pleads guilty to four criminal charges

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Roni Cohen-Pavon, the for­mer chief rev­enue offi­cer of the now-bank­rupt cryp­tocur­ren­cy lender Cel­sius Net­work, has plead­ed guilty to U.S. crim­i­nal charges relat­ed to the col­lapse of the cryp­to lend­ing net­work last year.

Reuters report­ed this morn­ing that Cohen-Pavon plead­ed guilty to four charges, includ­ing manip­u­lat­ing the price of the exchange’s token, CEL.

Cohen-Pavon, along with for­mer CEO and co-founder Alex Mashin­sky, was charged in July with mar­ket manip­u­la­tion and wire fraud for arti­fi­cial­ly inflat­ing the val­ue of CEL, accord­ing to court documents.


The case is part of a series of charges against key fig­ures in the cryp­to lend­ing sec­tor. Cryp­to lenders such as Cel­sius saw rapid growth as cryp­to prices surged dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, promis­ing easy loan access and remark­able inter­est rates to depos­i­tors and lend­ing tokens to insti­tu­tion­al investors, aim­ing to prof­it from the difference.

How­ev­er, in 2022, a flur­ry of cus­tomer with­drawals and a dra­mat­ic drop in cryp­tocur­ren­cy prices led to the col­lapse of cryp­to lenders like Cel­sius and FTX as they failed to meet those demands. Mashin­sky, how­ev­er, report­ed­ly with­drew $10 mil­lion from the com­pa­ny just weeks before its bankruptcy.

Mashin­sky, who also faces civ­il fraud charges brought by New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James, has “vehe­ment­ly” denied the charges and intends to fight them in court. He was released after his arrest in July on a $40 mil­lion bail.

Cohen-Pavon and Mashin­sky are not the only high-pro­file cryp­to indus­try fig­ures fac­ing crim­i­nal or civ­il charges. Ex-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and for­mer Ter­raform Labs CEO Do Kwon are both fac­ing crim­i­nal charges from the Depart­ment of Jus­tice, while the U.S. Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion has filed dozens of suits against var­i­ous actors and projects, includ­ing major indus­try play­ers such as Binance and Coinbase.

Cohen-Pavon’s sen­tenc­ing is sched­uled for Dec. 11, 2024, mark­ing a sig­nif­i­cant date in the ongo­ing saga of legal pro­ceed­ings against key fig­ures in the cryp­to lend­ing industry.

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