CFTC Alleges Market Manipulation Against Mango Markets Exploiter

DOJ arrested Avraham Eisenberg last year on similar charges.

AccessTimeIconJan 9, 2023 at 6:58 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 9, 2023 at 7:45 p.m. UTC
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Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.

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Join the most important conversation in crypto and Web3 taking place in Austin, Texas, April 26-28.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) brought manipulation charges against Mango Markets exploiter Avraham Eisenberg on Monday, just weeks after he was arrested by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on similar charges.

A lawsuit dated Monday alleges that Eisenberg violated federal commodities law by using a "manipulative or deceptive device" to manipulate the price of the MNGO token through swaps, and also that he engaged in "manipulation of a swap" for his role in exploiting Mango Markets in October. More than $100 million in crypto was taken from the decentralized exchange after a trader used multiple accounts to buy, sell and hedge the price of the MNGO token.

Eisenberg later said he was part of a group that "operated a highly profitable trading strategy" and would return some of the funds to Mango. In later tweets he said he believed his actions were legal. The Justice Department arrested him roughly two months later on market manipulation charges.

Like the DOJ, the CFTC pointed to Eisenberg's public statements, saying he "admit[ted] to his scheme" in a Discord server prior to the exploit and in tweets after the funds were drained.

"Contrary to his purported belief that his actions were legal, in fact, they constituted blatant manipulation of spot prices and swaps," the CFTC said.

Eisenberg, who was arrested in Puerto Rico near the end of 2022, remains detained pending trial.

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Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.


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Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.