Celsius CFO arrested over connections to Israeli crypto mogul Hogeg
Yaron Shalem, the Chief Financial Officer of crypto lending platform Celsius, was arrested this month in Tel Aviv in connection with Israeli crypto mogul Moshe Hogeg, CoinDesk reported. His name and those of 17 other people were included in an appendix to a document issued by Israel police’s national fraud investigation unit, dated Nov. 15.
This was three days before police announced they had arrested eight people, including Hogeg, on accusations of fraud, money laundering, and sexual assault.
Celsius refuses to talk
Three sources in Israel confirmed that Yaron Shalem had been arrested. However, the lending platform refuses to name names. On Friday, they tweeted:
Celsius was recently made aware of a police investigation in Israel involving an employee. While this is in no way related to the employee’s time or work at @CelsiusNetwork, the employee was immediately suspended. We have also verified that no assets were misplaced or mishandled.
Celsius has not respond to requests for comment since then. Court proceedings are usually public in Israel, except in circumstances when a confidentiality order can be placed to protect the people’s identities. This is the case with the individuals involved in the Hogeg investigation.
Other arrestees have not been identified
The charges, on which Shalem was arrested are not clear. He joined Celsius earlier this year. Before that, he was CFO of Singulariteam, a venture capital company that Hogeg founded. The other six people, who were reportedly arrested with Hogeg, have not been identified.
Shalem named in lawsuit against Hogeg
Hogeg has seen his fair share of controversies. Most of them go back to 2017’s initial coin offering (ICO) boom. The suspended CFO of Celsius was named in a lawsuit against Hogeg in 2019, filed by a Chinese investor named Zhewen Hu.
Celsius founder worked for Hogeg
What’s more, Shalem is not the only Celsius employee associated with the crypto mogul. The platform’s CEO and founder, Alex Mashinsky, worked for Hogeg’s Sirin Labs as adviser in 2019, the Sirin website states.
Lender under regulatory hammer
Celsius isn’t without its own problems. Regulators in Texas and New Jersey put the platform on its watchlist, accusing them that their lending product qualified as an unregistered security.
Despite this, they describe themselves as a platform of curated services that have been abandoned by big banks – things like fair interest, zero fees, and lightning quick transactions. Their website states that their goal is to disrupt the financial industry, one happy user at a time, and introduce financial freedom through crypto.