Avraham “Avi” Eisenberg, the person behind the Mango Markets exploit, has been arrested in Puerto Rico.
A Dec. 27 court filing from the U.S. Attorney’s office disclosed that Eisenberg was arrested on Monday night on charges related to market manipulation. A complaint that was subsequently unsealed contained a deposition from FBI Special Agent Brandon Racz, alleging that Eisenberg knowingly manipulated the price of futures contracts on DeFi protocol Mango Markets.
The complaint alleges that Eisenberg participated in a scheme to steal approximately $110 million by artificially manipulating the price of MNGO perpetuals. Special Agent Racz referenced Eisenberg’s tweets on Oct. 15, taking credit for the exploit which he described as a “highly profitable trading strategy.”
Racz said that Eisenberg’s tweets made it clear that he was aware that he was breaking the law. Racz also reviewed Eisenberg’s travel records and found that Eisenberg flew from the U.S. 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,” stated Racz.
Although his actions would now suggest otherwise, Eisenberg portrayed an image of confidence after taking ownership of the exploit in October, claiming his actions were legal in open market conditions.
In a tweet on Oct. 15, Eisenberg claimed he was using the protocol as designed, even if the developers did not anticipate the consequences of how the Mango Markets’ parameters were set up.
He returned $67 million to the Mango DAO, keeping the remainder of the stolen funds.
When asked why he chose to publicly disclose that he was the exploit’s perpetrator in an episode of Unchained, Eisenberg said that any profitable trader would attract some amount of hate and jealousy.
“You look at some of the stuff people say about Sam [Bankman-Fried]. He’s obviously made billions of dollars with various other profitable trades. He gets a lot of hate,” said Eisenberg at the time.
As for the wider implications of Eisenberg’s arrest, Delphi Labs General Counsel Gabriel Shapiro tweeted that this was not a good case on which to settle regulatory issues involving DeFi and that it could set the crypto movement back.
believe it or not @avi_eisen arrest is very bearish for DeFi:
(1) sure, it might deter further attacks, but the whole point of these protocols is that they need to be robust against such attacks in a pvp environment
— _gabrielShapir0 (@lex_node) December 27, 2022