South Korean authorities raid Upbit, Bithumb crypto exchanges after political scandal

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South Korean prosecutors have raided the offices of two local cryptocurrency exchanges in an investigation into Rep. Kim Nam-guk’s digital assets.

according to report According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, a prosecutor’s team at the Seoul Southern District Public Prosecutor’s Office has raided cryptocurrency exchanges Upbit and Bithumb and obtained transaction records and other materials.

Kim is said to run digital asset wallets with Upbit and Bithumb.

The raid by authorities came shortly after Kim resigned from his party on May 14. Kim’s departure from the party is linked to multiple allegations against him for conducting questionable cryptocurrency transactions in May and November 2022 while he worked on enacting the Digital Assets Act.

according to facebook director A former lawmaker said he didn’t want to “burden” party members with the controversy over cryptocurrency trading. In the same post, he said there were “false facts” in the media reports he condemned and said he would “reveal the truth.”

suspicious activity

The Korea Times reported on May 8 that Kim liquidated more than $4 million in cryptocurrencies before the Financial Action Working Group implemented the “Travel Rule.” Kim is said to have backed a bill to postpone the 20% capital gains tax on cryptocurrencies from 2023 to 2025.

Kim reportedly claimed that he did not cash out the digital assets and transferred them to another exchange. The lawmaker said there is no obligation to report such activity.

According to Yonhap News, the South Korean politician is said to have owned about 800,000 Wemix coins ($4.5 million) in 2021.

Crypto exchange controversy

Bithumb, one of the exchanges Kim’s money is believed to have been held under, has come under close scrutiny from local regulators in recent months.

In December 2022, the exchange’s largest shareholder executive was found dead shortly after being accused of embezzlement and stock manipulation. Less than a month later, Bithumb came under investigation by regulators, and on January 10, their offices were raided.

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On February 2, the owner of the exchange was arrested by South Korean authorities on charges of embezzlement, and the arrest warrant also included additional charges of dereliction of duty, market manipulation and fraudulent trading.

repression in South Korea

All of these moves in South Korea come as the country’s authorities crack down on local cryptocurrency activity.

On April 24, South Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea, was given the authority to launch an investigation into operators of cryptocurrency-related businesses. As part of this new power, banks will be able to request access to cryptocurrency trading data from domestically operated exchanges.

Two days later, lawmakers passed the initial review of the proposed cryptocurrency regulation. These new regulations include relatively harsh sentencing recommendations and powers to the Financial Services Commission to investigate and oversee activities related to “digital assets.”

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