The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's Crime Investigation Unit has seized and searched the largest South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb in a fraud investigation today, local newspaper Seoul Shinmun reported.
According to the publication, Lee Jung Hoon, the chairman of Bithumb Holdings and Bithumb Korea, was also arrested today after being previously investigated for trying to transfer some of his assets abroad without reporting it.
Seoul Shinmun noted that today’s raid was caused by Bithumb’s pre-sale of 30 billion won (roughly $25 million) worth of its native tokens BXA back in 2018. The exchange issued them ahead of its planned acquisition by Singapore-based blockchain consortium BK Global but ended up never listing them after the deal fell through. This allegedly led to investors’ losses.
Last week, Seoul police also raided the offices of Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinbit, whose management is suspected of falsifying 99% of its trading volumes.
At the time, Doo Wan Nam, head of business development in Asia at MakerDAO, said that such actions can be expected in the future as stricter laws governing crypto businesses are introduced in Korea.
"It's not the first time a Korean exchange has been accused of fraud. Unfortunately, as the new crypto regulation is incoming in Korea, such crackdowns might become more common,” he told Decrypt.
Perhaps today's police raid on Bithumb is just another indication of this.