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Mango Markets Exploiter Arrested In Puerto Rico For Alleged Market Manipulation
Avraham Eisenberg, the man behind the $110 million exploit of Solana-based DeFi exchange Mango Markets, has reportedly been arrested in Puerto Rico. According to a previously sealed complaint filed with the Southern District of New York, authorities have charged Eisenberg with market manipulation and fraud.
In the signed deposition, FBI Special Agent Brandon Racz persuaded the judge to issue the arrest warrant by stating,
“The day after the Market Manipulation Scheme – AVRAHAM EISENBERG, the defendant, flew from the United States to Israel. Based on the timing of the flight, the travel appears to have been an effort to avoid apprehension by law enforcement in the immediate aftermath of the Market Manipulation Scheme.”
Eisenberg led a team to exploit Mango Markets in October for $114 million by, according to the affidavit against him, manipulating the price of the exchange’s native token, MNGO.
Eisenberg bought a massive position in MNGO, inflating the price of that token by 1,300%, which allowed him to borrow other tokens with larger market caps and more stable value via the same platform with no intention of paying them back.
When MNGO’s price fell again, Eisenberg’s position no longer had enough value to cover the debts he had taken in those other tokens. At the time, he came forward as the user behind the massive price move in MNGO, saying he was “using the protocol as designed, even if the development team did not fully anticipate the consequences of setting parameters the way they are.”
Subsequently, Mango users voted to let him keep $47 million of his bounty, while he returned the other $67 million.
Despite that decentralized settlement, authorities are charging Eisenberg with criminal market manipulation, conflicting with the DeFi notion that code can be its own law. No word on potential criminal charges for the rest of his team.
North Korea-Linked Lazarus Group Posed As VC Firm To Spread Malware
According to a new report from the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, a group linked with North Korean state-sponsored hacking collective Lazarus Group, has expanded its criminal activities to include posing as venture capitalists looking to invest in crypto startups.
The group, which has been named “BlueNoroff” by security researchers, has reportedly created more than 70 fake domains that mimic venture capital firms and banks. The websites, which use malware to target crypto firms, misrepresent themselves as well-known companies from Japan, the United States or Vietnam.
BlueNoroff reportedly also used software to bypass Mark-of-theWeb (MOTW) technology, which ensures that a message from Windows pops up to warn users when trying to open a file downloaded from the Internet.
According to Kaspersky, BlueNoroff is using malware to attack organizations that deal with smart contracts, DeFi, Blockchain, and the FinTech industry.
Stealing cryptocurrency has been a profitable business for North Korean hackers. Since 2017, over $1.2 billion in cryptocurrency has been looted, according to data from South Korean spy agencies.
In 2022, several high-profile companies, including FTX, were hit by cyber-attacks.
In August, the group sent job offers to candidates on LinkedIn for an engineering manager position at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
In September, the Lazarus Group targeted Coinbase and Crypto.com job seekers in two separate phishing attacks. One malware attack encouraged job seekers to download a PDF document showcasing the open vacancies at crypto.com. Once downloaded, the PDF would install a trojan horse and steal personal and financial information.
In October, cyber criminals used an exploit in the Binance Smart Chain to make off with over $100 million in cryptocurrency.
On November 11, 2022, the day FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, an unknown actor began siphoning funds from FTX wallets to the tuen of $640 million in tokens.
While the story of the fall of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX has taken over the headlines, the threat posed by cyber criminals has never subsided.
Bankman-Fried’s Criminal Case Assigned To Judge In Trump, Prince Andrew Cases
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan is reportedly replacing Judge Ronnie Abrams in the fraud case against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried after the latter recused themselves citing a potential conflict of interest.
Judge Kaplan has previously presided over several high-profile cases, including Chevron’s 2014 environmental case, and Prince Andrew’s 2021 sexual-assault case.
Known for his no-nonsense demeanor in the courtroom, Kaplan, a judge since 1994, oversees two civil lawsuits by former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll accusing Trump of defaming her by denying he raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room 27 years ago.
Trump has sought the dismissal of both lawsuits, including a battery claim.
Kaplan also recentl;y oversaw Virginia Giuffre’s civil lawsuit accusing Prince Andfrew of sexually abusing her when she was 17 at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, the now-convicted former associate of late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew settled that case last February.
The U.S. Department of Justice accused Bankman-Fried of causing billions of dollars of losses related to FTX, once the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, including by using customer funds to support his Alameda Research crypto trading platform.
Bankman-Fried has acknowledged risk-management failures at FTX< but said he does not believe he is criminally liable for what prosecutors called a “fraud of epic proportions.”
After being extradited to New York from the Bahamas to face the charges, the 30-year-old Bankman-Fried was released on Thursday on a $250 million bond, and required to remain under detention at his parents’ California home. He has not entered a plea.