Crypto Lender Founder Alex Mashinsky Pleads Not Guilty Amid Industry Turmoil

Crypto Lender Founder Alex Mashinsky Pleads Not Guilty Amid Industry Turmoil

Alex Mashinsky, the founder and former CEO of the now-defunct cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network, entered a plea of not guilty on Thursday to fraud charges brought against him by U.S. authorities. These charges allege that he deceived customers and artificially inflated the value of his company's proprietary cryptocurrency token.

Additionally, three federal regulatory agencies filed lawsuits against Mashinsky and Celsius in connection with this case.

An unsealed indictment earlier on Thursday revealed that Mashinsky faces seven criminal counts, including securities fraud, commodities fraud, and wire fraud.

This indictment marks another blow to the cryptocurrency industry, as Mashinsky joins the ranks of several other prominent figures in the crypto world who have been indicted. The industry has been facing significant challenges following a downturn in crypto prices, which resulted in the collapse of various companies, including the prominent exchange platform FTX. Last year, FTX's founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, was charged with fraud and pleaded not guilty.

Mashinsky, 57, appeared at the arraignment in a federal court in Manhattan dressed in a gray polo shirt and jeans, without handcuffs.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona Wang ordered his release on a $40 million bond, backed by his residence in Manhattan.

During a press conference detailing the charges, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated, "Whether it's an old-school fraud or some new-school crypto scheme, it makes no difference to us. It's all fraud."

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