Korean Authorities Investigate 33 People for $1.48B in Illicit Crypto Transactions

8 July 2021

Thirty-three people were investigated in South Korea for engaging in illicit crypto transactions worth 1.69 trillion won ($1.48 billion).

  • Fourteen of the people were referred for prosecution, 15 were fined and four remain under investigation, Korea Times reported Wednesday, citing Seoul Central Customs.
  • The investigation was conducted between April and September last year into crimes related to digital currencies for the purposes of fraud and money laundering.
  • About half the money, just over $700 million, concerned illegal foreign exchange, with a third party being paid to transfer a large amount of funds withdrawn after trading the currency on a crypto exchange.
  • Around $680 million concerned falsified remittance records for overseas purchases of crypto and some $83 million concerned making cash withdrawals abroad using Korean credit cards to make crypto purchases.
  • "Virtual asset transfers under the guise of trade, travel or study expenses are strictly prohibited," a Seoul customs office official said. "Violators will be subject to criminal prosecution or fines."
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