Celsius CFO Arrested on Charges Tied to Former Job at Moshe Hogeg’s Firm

Yaron Shalem, the CFO of crypto lender Celsius, previously worked at Singulariteam, whose founder, Hogeg, was arrested last week on money laundering and other charges.

AccessTimeIconNov 26, 2021 at 6:27 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:49 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Yaron Shalem, the chief financial officer of cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius, was one of the seven people arrested in Tel Aviv this month in connection with Israeli crypto mogul Moshe Hogeg, CoinDesk has confirmed.

Three sources in Israel confirmed Shalem’s arrest. In a tweet Friday, Celsius said it was “recently made aware of a police investigation in Israel involving an employee,” without naming the person.

  • What's Next for FIT21?
    07:15
    What's Next for FIT21?
  • U.S. House Approves Crypto FIT21 Bill; Sam Bankman-Fried Being Moved to New Prison
    01:52
    U.S. House Approves Crypto FIT21 Bill; Sam Bankman-Fried Being Moved to New Prison
  • Ether Sees Strongest Bull Momentum in 3 Years
    01:08
    Ether Sees Strongest Bull Momentum in 3 Years
  • SEC Chair Gensler Got the FIT21 Bill 'Wrong': Rep. French Hill
    00:59
    SEC Chair Gensler Got the FIT21 Bill 'Wrong': Rep. French Hill
  • “While this is in no way related to the employee’s time or work at @CelsiusNetwork, the employee was immediately suspended. We have also verified that no assets were misplaced or mishandled,” the tweet said.

    Court proceedings in Israel generally take place in public, except under certain extenuating circumstances when a gag order can be placed on an investigation to protect the identity of individuals involved, as is the case with the people that are part of the Hogeg investigation.

    Shalem’s name was included – along with 17 others, including Hogeg’s – in an appendix to a document bearing the letterhead of the Israel police’s national fraud investigation unit. The page, reviewed by CoinDesk, was stamped Nov. 15 by Judge Erez Melamed of the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court. It is not clear from the appendix what kind of document it was attached to. However, the date on the stamp is three days before Israeli police said they had arrested eight individuals, including Hogeg, on suspicion of money laundering, fraud and sexual assault.

    Appendix to Israeli police document
    Appendix to Israeli police document

    Celsius did not respond to requests for comment. Calls to Israeli police were answered with a prerecorded message, or not at all. When CoinDesk called the number listed for a Yaron Shalem in Tel Aviv and asked for him, the person who answered hung up.

    In an “ask-me-anything” on Twitter late Tuesday, a Celsius staffer said he could not confirm or deny whether Shalem was one of the former Hogeg associates to have been arrested.

    Shalem joined Celsius earlier this year. From January 2014 to March 2018 he worked as CFO for Singulariteam, a venture capital firm launched by Hogeg.

    It is not clear what charge(s) Shalem was arrested on. Also unclear is who were the other six individuals who were reportedly arrested along with Hogeg.

    Hogeg has been involved in controversy in the past, much of it dating back to the initial coin offering (ICO) boom of 2017. Shalem was named in a lawsuit against Hogeg back in January 2019, brought by Chinese investor Zhewen Hu, the Times of Israel reported.

    Alex Mashinsky, Celsius’ founder and CEO, was an adviser to Hogeh’s Sirin Labs as recently as 2019, according to an archived version of the latter startup’s website.

    Celsius has had its own share of troubles in recent months. In September, securities regulators in the U.S. states of Texas and New Jersey put Celsius under the microscope, alleging the company’s lending product qualified as an unregistered security.

    Disclosure

    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

    Ian Allison

    Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.


    Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.



    Read more about