- The accusations against Kang Jong-hyun include embezzlement, breach of trust, and false, illegal transactions.
- As the suspected actual owner of the exchange is being sought, the net is drawing closer to the Bithumb officials.
It is suspected that the owner of Bithumb, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, has been arrested on theft-related charges.
According to local media sources, Kang Jong-hyun was taken into custody on February 2 in relation to the allegations of embezzlement. On January 25, the Seoul Southern District Court issued a warrant for the businessman’s arrest with a number of accusations, including dereliction of duty, market manipulation, and fraudulent transactions.
The 41-year-old, who serves as CEO of Bithumb affiliate Inbiogen, is Kang Ji-yeon’s elder brother. The corporation holds the most prominent position in Vidente Vidente, the largest shareholder in Bithumb, with a 34.2% stake.
The brothers allegedly conspired to use the issuance of convertible bonds and the theft of corporate cash to manipulate the stock prices of Inbiogen and the film production business Bucket Studio.
In a statement published on the Bucket Studio website, CEO Kang Ji-yeon apologized to the shareholders and stated that the accusations made against his brother were “unconfirmed.” However, he also added that he would assist the authorities in their inquiry.
The country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange is the subject of an inquiry by the National Tax Service of South Korea, which was started on January 10. According to reports, officials examined the Bithumb headquarters in Seoul as part of the ongoing tax probe.
Because Park Mo, Bithumb’s largest shareholder, was found dead in front of his own home in late December, the situation becomes much more difficult. Due to claims of theft and market manipulation, he was also the focus of a probe. It was believed that Park Mo committed suicide as a result of the accusations made against him.
Following a crackdown in 2021 in which over 70 local exchanges collapsed as a result of failing to comply with regulatory regulations, Bithumb is one of just five Korean cryptocurrency exchanges left operating. The Bithumb 24-hour trade volume is $370 million, according to CoinGecko.
Bithumb has experienced some hazy recent months. In relation to accusations that he perpetrated a $100 million fraud in connection with the exchange, Lee Jung-Hoon, the former chairman of Bithumb, was cleared on January 3.