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Bithumb Owner Arrested Over Embezzlement Charges in South Korea

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Key Points

  • Kang Jong-hyun, the suspected owner of South Korea’s largest crypto exchange, Bithumb, was arrested on charges of alleged embezzlement.
  • Kang was accused of stealing 60 billion won from his company and conspiring with a business partner to manipulate stock prices.

Kang Jong-hyun, the suspected owner of South Korea’s largest crypto exchange, Bithumb, was arrested on charges of alleged embezzlement on 2 February, according to local media reports.

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The Seoul Southern District Court issued an arrest warrant for the businessman last week, charging him with dereliction of duty, market manipulation, and fraudulent transactions.

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Jo Mo, the representative of the affiliated company who was counted as an aide, was also arrested.

Kang was accused of stealing 60 billion won from his company and conspiring with a business partner to manipulate stock prices. He is the brother of Kang Ji-yeon, the head of Bithumb affiliate Inbiogen. The company owns most of Vidente, which is the largest shareholder in Bithumb, with a 34.2% stake.

Prosecutors claimed that the brothers conspired to steal corporate funds and manipulate stock prices at Inbiogen and video production firm Bucket Studio by issuing convertible bonds.

Kang Ji-yeon, CEO of Bucket Studio, apologized to shareholders. However, he acknowledged that the claims against his brother were “unconfirmed.” Finally, he promised to cooperate with the authorities.

Investigation into Bithumb ongoing

Earlier, the South Korean National Tax Service agency launched an investigation into the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. As part of the ongoing tax investigation, the investigation team reportedly raided Bithumb’s Seoul headquarters.

In December 2022, Park Mo, Bithumb’s largest shareholder, was found dead in front of his own home. He was also under investigation for alleged embezzlement and market manipulation. Park Mo was thought to have committed suicide because of the charges levied against him.

As per CoinGecko, Bithumb has a daily trading volume of around $350 million. The exchange supports 191 coins and 287 trading pairs, the most popular of which is BTC/KRW.CRYPTOCASTER® - DECENTRALIZED FREEDOM!
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