The criminal trial of Avraham “Avi” Eisenberg, the alleged mastermind behind a $116 million exploit on Mango Markets, has been pushed to April 2024.
Lawyers for Avi argued that the extra four months were necessary to ensure their client gets a fair trial. In a filing with the Southern District of New York on November 3, they argued that Avi’s case “involves complex and novel legal and factual issues.”
In early October 2022, Avi allegedly siphoned $114 million from Mango Markets, a decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol on the Solana network. The exploit involved manipulating the platform’s native MNGO token and, with a massively overvalued MNGO collateral, taking out big loans.
Avi outed himself shortly after and offered to return $67 million. He defended his actions, describing them as a “highly profitable trading strategy.” He was arrested in December 2022 in Puerto Rico on charges of commodities manipulation and fraud.
Initially set to stand trial in December, Avi’s lawyers successfully argued that government prosecutors had produced voluminous discovery on a rolling basis, which they are still analyzing.
On October 26, Avi was transferred from Essex County Correctional Facility in New Jersey to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. His lawyers attempted to stop the transfer but were unsuccessful, they say. This transfer has inhibited the lawyers’ access to their clients.
“The move to the MDC has already, and will continue to, severely inhibit defense counsel’s access to Mr. Eisenberg…Unfortunately, the level of communication with Mr. Eisenberg now necessary as the trial approaches (and during trial) is even more heightened at a time when his access to defense counsel has been significantly diminished,” the lawyers stated.
The government attempted to stop the defense lawyers’ request, claiming that a one-week continuance in December was sufficient for the attorneys to sort everything out.
However, Judge Arun Subramanian ruled in favor of Avi’s lawyers, affording him four extra months to prepare his defense.
In addition to his criminal trial, Avi has been charged with market manipulation and fraud by the SEC for manipulating the price of the MNGO token. The agency wants Avi to disgorge all ill-gotten wealth and pay civil penalties.
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