More troubles for South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb brews as its offices were reportedly raided on Thursday.
Authorities launched an investigation into potential price manipulation of a coin listed on the platform, according to a report by Yonhap. The token in question has not been revealed.
Prosecutors said they are probing transactions linked to a specific person or entity allegedly manipulating the coin’s price to make a profit. In a statement, the Seoul District Prosecutor’s Office said,
“This is a search and seizure to secure the transaction details of a specific coin, and it has nothing to do with Bithumb.”
In addition to Bithumb, the prosecutors are planning to look into the transaction details at other crypto exchanges where the token is listed.
The latest development comes just days after South Korean authorities requested an arrest warrant for Kang Jong-Hyun, Bithumb’s chairman and owner, over embezzlement allegations. Two other executives, including his younger sister, Kang Ji-Yeon, the CEO of two publicly traded Bithumb affiliates – Inbiogen and Bucket Studio -were also accused of embezzlement, breach of trust, and illegal transactions.
The Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office alleged that the executives had swindled company funds and conspired to manipulate stock prices.
Bithumb is one of five remaining crypto exchanges in the country following an industry-wide crackdown in 2021 which led to the shutdown of nearly 70 local trading venues that failed to meet regulatory requirements. Several of its executives have faced serious charges in recent years.
In December, the crypto exchange’s largest shareholder, Park Mo, was found dead outside his home after being framed by the Kang siblings as a suspect in prosecutors’ investigation into the alleged embezzlement and stock manipulation. Mo was arrested for allegedly destroying evidence prior to a prosecution search. Several local media reports suggest that the exec took his own life.
Tax Fraud Charges
In yet another separate probe, the South Korean National Tax Service (NTS) launched a “special tax investigation” against Bithumb Korea and Bithumb Holdings and its affiliates for potential tax evasion via domestic and international transactions.
Bithumb was subjected to tax investigation for the second time after 2018 when it was slapped with a multi-million-dollar bill for back taxes, even as the investigation found the company not guilty of tax evasion.
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