Trader who took $110 million from Mango Markets cryptocurrency exchange arrested

The trader withdrew $110 million from the exchange
The trader withdrew $110 million from the exchange   -  Copyright  Canva
By Euronews  with Reuters

Police have arrested a man who is accused of trying to steal around $110 million (€103 million) from a cryptocurrency exchange.

Prosecutors in the United States filed charges of commodities fraud and manipulation against Avraham Eisenberg, after he withdrew the funds from the Mango Markets exchange in October.

An arrest warrant was issued, and according to a US Justice Department document, Eisenberg was arrested on the evening of December 26 in Puerto Rico.

He is accused of rigging the exchange. The criminal complaint filed on Tuesday in a federal court in Manhattan detailed how he traded in futures related to Mango Markets’s MNGO token, enabling him to withdraw the $110 million (€103 million) from other investors’ deposits, with no apparent intention to repay the funds.

Mango is a decentralised cryptocurrency exchange run by Mango DAO that lets investors lend, borrow, swap, and use leverage to trade crypto assets.

The court filing, signed by FBI Special Agent Brandon Racz, said Eisenberg used two accounts to concurrently buy and sell futures based on the relative values of MNGO and the stablecoin USD Coin (USDC).

By being on both sides of the transaction, Eisenberg artificially inflated the price of MNGO relative to USDC, allowing him to borrow and then withdraw $110 million (€103 million) of different cryptocurrencies, the complaint said.

Mango soon began negotiations with Eisenberg and reached a settlement to recoup $67 million. A community post at the time said “all mango depositors will be made whole,” with token holders who vote for the settlement agreeing not to “pursue any criminal investigations or freezing of funds once the tokens are sent back”.

Following the withdrawal, Eisenberg said on Twitter that he was “involved with a team that operated a highly profitable trading strategy last week”.

He said he believed “all our actions were legal open market actions,” and that they had used the platform as designed, “even if the development team did not fully anticipate all the consequences of setting parameters the way they are”.

Reuters reported that Eisenberg could not be immediately reached for comment. It is unclear whether he has a lawyer.