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Celsius co-founder Daniel Leon resigns amid revelations of $56M cash-out

Daniel Leon, the co-founder of bankrupt digital asset lender Celsius Network, stepped down from his role as the chief strategy officer at the firm, just a week after chief executive officer Alex Mashinsky resigned.

Leon founded Celsius in 2017 alongside Mashinsky and Nuke Goldstein and has been a top executive at the lender since. He, just like Mashinsky, has strongly condemned banks and other financial institutions, which he claimed steal from the many to give to the few.

Leon has now resigned from his role, multiple outlets reported. His position will be taken over by another Israeli, Lior Koren, who previously served as the company’s global tax director.

“We confirm that Daniel Leon resigned from his position at Celsius and is no longer part of the organization,” the company confirmed in a statement to media outlets.

Leon holds 32,600 shares of Celsius’ common stock.

Celsius was one of the largest digital asset lenders globally. At one point in October 2021, the company held as much as $25 billion in users’ assets under its management. However, it all came tumbling this year as the “crypto winter” set in and was exacerbated by the collapse of UST and LUNA, two digital assets Mashinsky had heavily bet on. In its bankruptcy filing in July, the company revealed that it owed $4.7 billion to its users and only had $167 million in cash on hand.

Leon resigns as new details about the top executives’ cash-outs just before the lender’s collapse come to light. A Statement of Financial Affairs filed in New York this week revealed that cofounders Leon, Mashinsky, and Goldstein collectively withdrew over $56 million between May and June this year, just before the company froze withdrawals and later collapsed.

As was previously unearthed by the Financial Times, Mashinsky withdrew $10 million in May. However, the new statement reveals that his cofounders withdrew much more; Goldstein withdrew $13 million, while Leon withdrew $7 million. The two also cashed out $7.8 million and $4 million in CEL tokens, respectively, with each denoting these tokens as “collateral.”

These withdrawals will be closely inspected by an independent examiner appointed by the Department of Justice’s Trustee to probe the company’s operations before the collapse.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups from BitMEX to BinanceBitcoin.comBlockstreamShapeShiftCoinbaseRipple, 
EthereumFTX and Tether—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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