July 13 (Reuters) – Alex Mashinsky, the founder and former CEO of bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network, pleaded not guilty to fraud charges on Thursday in federal court in Manhattan.
Mashinsky, 57, was charged with seven criminal counts – including securities fraud, commodities fraud and wire fraud – according to an indictment unsealed earlier on Thursday.
Prosecutors and federal regulators accused Mashinsky of misleading customers and of artificially inflating the value of his Hoboken, New Jersey-based company’s proprietary crypto token.
Mashinsky is one of several crypto moguls to be indicted in another blow for the industry, which is undergoing a reckoning after a slump in crypto prices led to the collapse of several companies, including exchange giant FTX. Its founder Sam Bankman-Fried was charged with fraud last year, and has pleaded not guilty.
Mashinsky arrived in court wearing a gray polo shirt, jeans and no handcuffs.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona Wang said he would be released on a $40 million bond secured by his Manhattan residence.
Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington and Luc Cohen, Chris Prentice in New York and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft in London; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Michelle Price and Jonathan Oatis
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Hannah Lang covers financial technology and cryptocurrency, including the businesses that drive the industry and policy developments that govern the sector. Hannah previously worked at American Banker where she covered bank regulation and the Federal Reserve. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park and lives in Washington, DC.
Chris Prentice reports on financial crimes, with a focus on securities enforcement matters. She previously covered commodities markets and trade policy. She has received awards for her work from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and the Newswomen’s Club of New York.
Reports on the New York federal courts. Previously worked as a correspondent in Venezuela and Argentina.