Mango Crypto Attacker Arrested in Puerto Rico

A representation of cryptocurrency Bitcoin is seen in this illustration taken August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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  • Avraham Eisenberg was arrested on Monday in Puerto Rico.
  • The Department of Justice is charging Eisenberg with fraud and market manipulation over the Mango attack.
  • Eisenberg withdrew roughly $110 million in crypto, but returned about $67 million. 

Avraham Eisenberg, who openly confirmed his exploit of cryptocurrency platform Mango Markets (MNGO/USD) in October, has been arrested in Puerto Rico.

According to details in a complaint filed by United States Attorney Damian Williams at the Southern District of New York, Eisenberg was arrested on Monday in Puerto Rico. The US Department of Justice revealed the arrest on Tuesday 27 December in a sealed complaint submitted to the US Magistrates Judge Kathrine H. Parker at the Southern District of New York Court.

The defendant is facing market manipulation and fraud charges, the documents show.

What happened during the Mango exploit?

On 11 October 2022, the Solana-based decentralised exchange Mango Markets suffered an attack. By the end of the day, the attacker had stolen about $110 million in various crypto assets from the platform’s treasury. Eisenberg later returned $67 million after negotiating with the Mango team.

As revealed after the attack, Eisenberg and his team first manipulated the price of Mango Markets’ native token MNGO. The artificial inflation of the token’s price against the stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) allowed the exploiters to take “massive loans” that ended with approximately $110 million in different cryptocurrencies looted from the crypto platform.

Eisenberg said his team “operated a highly profitable trading strategy,” actions he thought did not break rules as they were all within “open market actions.” But the DoJ says his exploit of Mango resulted in other investors losing their money and were deliberate market manipulation activities.

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