The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday the arrest of Avraham Eisenberg, charging him with “market-manipulation offenses” related to his attack on the Mango Markets crypto exchange.
A second filing signed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas S. Burnett and Noah Solowiejczyk has specifically charged Eisenberg with commodities fraud and commodities manipulation.
“Eisenberg engaged in a scheme involving the intentional and artificial manipulation of the price of perpetual futures contracts on a cryptocurrency exchange called Mango Markets,” the filing reads.
Mango Markets is a Solana-based decentralized exchange (DEX) governed by a DAO made up of holders of its native token, MNGO, that lets investors lend, borrow, swap, and use leverage to trade crypto.
On October 11, 2022, the project was drained of roughly $110 million, with Mango Markets tweeting at that time that a hacker had manipulated the platform’s price oracle. Eisenberg also admitted to being “involved with a team that operated a highly profitable trading strategy” shortly after.
Statement on recent events:
I was involved with a team that operated a highly profitable trading strategy last week.
— Avraham Eisenberg (@avi_eisen) October 15, 2022
As explained in the court filing, Eisenberg executed this attack by selling MNGO perpetuals from one account to another separate account also under his control. He then began buying large amounts of MNGO, which had the effect of increasing the value of his large MNGO perpetuals holdings. He then borrowed against these holdings and withdrew $110 million in assorted cryptocurrencies.
This strategy had the knock-on effect of essentially rendering the platform insolvent, with Eisenberg himself explaining that the insurance fund in place was “insufficient to cover all liquidations.”
On October 14, 2022, Mango DAO offered the Mango Market attacker a $47 million bug bounty along with the promise of not pressing charges if they sent back $67 million worth of tokens.
“We are seeking to make users whole to the extent possible,” the DAO said.