- Bithumb crypto exchange raided over alleged price manipulation
- Prosecutors investigating specific person or entity for profit-making
- Bithumb Chairman and executives charged with embezzlement, breach of trust and fraudulent illegal transactions.
The offices of Bithumb, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, were raided on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of price manipulation of a coin listed on the exchange. The specific coin that is being investigated has not been identified at this time. Prosecutors are investigating whether a person or entity moved the price of the coin to make a profit, and plan to examine transaction records at other exchanges where the coin is listed.
According to an official from the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor's Office, the raid was conducted to secure the transaction details of the specific coin and it has nothing to do with Bithumb as a company. The raid took place at a time when Bithumb is also being probed by South Korea's tax authorities, who are investigating potential tax evasion via domestic and international transactions on the exchange and its affiliates.
In addition to the ongoing investigations, local news outlets reported this week that Bithumb Chairman Kang Jong-Hyun and two other executives were charged with embezzlement, breach of trust, and fraudulent illegal transactions. Kang is alleged to have stolen company money and conspired to manipulate stock prices.
It is worth noting that Bithumb is one of only five remaining Korean crypto exchanges following a crackdown in 2021, in which approximately 70 domestic exchanges closed after failing to meet regulatory requirements. The exchange did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for further comment on the matter.
Overall, these developments indicate a heightened level of scrutiny and regulatory oversight on the part of South Korean authorities towards the country's cryptocurrency exchanges and the industry as a whole. It remains to be seen how the investigations will play out and what impact they will have on Bithumb and the wider crypto ecosystem in South Korea.