South Korea Seizes $47M Worth of Crypto for Back Taxes: Report

23 June 2021

South Korean officials seized more than 53 billion won (US$47 million) in crypto from 12,000 people accused of tax evasion, the Financial Times reported.

  • The seizures are part of a months-long probe, The FT said Wednesday, citing the government for Gyeonggi province that encompasses the greater Seoul area.
  • Officials called it the largest "cryptocurrency seizure for back taxes in Korean history."
  • Local exchanges that did not collect resident registration numbers of account holders were used to conceal assets, according to the Gyeonggi government.
  • Investigators instead used mobile phone numbers to track down the alleged tax evaders. They included a "renowned home-shopping channel show host" who owed over $17,000 in tax and held $440,000 worth of crypto.
  • The seizure forms part of a broader crackdown on the crypto industry in South Korea in a bid by the country to tackle fraud and money laundering.
  • Crypto exchanges have until September to register with the financial regulator as virtual-asset service providers so the legality of their operations can be determined.
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