Upbit, Bithumb Raided Following Lawmaker’s Crypto Scandal

Monday, 15/05/2023 | 15:28 GMT by FM Contributors
  • PPP to launch internal task force probing opposition lawmaker's cryptocurrency dealings.
  • Potential lobbying efforts by the gaming industry will also be investigated
South Korea

In an ongoing investigation into the cryptocurrency holdings of independent lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk, South Korean prosecutors conducted raids on two local cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday, according to officials. The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office dispatched a team of investigators who seized transaction records as well as other relevant materials from both Upbit and Bithumb.

The investigation stems from mounting suspicions surrounding Representative (Rep.) Kim's digital assets. Recent revelations indicate that he possessed approximately 800,000 Wemix coins in 2021, valued at around 6 billion won (US$4.5 million). Questions have arisen regarding the source of the funds and whether Rep. Kim had access to insider information.

In addition to the questions surrounding his cryptocurrency holdings, the first-term lawmaker, who recently resigned from the main opposition Democratic Party, faces allegations of engaging in cryptocurrency trading during his attendance at two meetings of the National Assembly's judiciary committee. These meetings took place in May and November of the preceding year.

Rep. Kim maintains his digital wallets with Upbit and Bithumb, the two cryptocurrency exchanges subject to the recent raids, as the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office aims to gather evidence and shed light on the circumstances surrounding the lawmaker's digital asset transactions.

The raids on these cryptocurrency exchanges mark a significant development in the ongoing investigation, as authorities seek to ascertain the origins of Rep. Kim Nam-kuk's substantial cryptocurrency holdings and determine whether any illicit activities or breaches of trust occurred.

Wemix, the popular blockchain-based game platform, has since issued a statement.

"Reports to the effect that WeMade illegally supported Wemix or provided internal information related to investment to members of the National Assembly are completely untrue," WEMIX said in a statement in Korean (as translated by Google).

PPP to Launch Internal Task Force

Meanwhile, the ruling People Power Party (PPP) announced on Monday its intention to establish an internal task force dedicated to investigating suspicions surrounding the cryptocurrency transactions of opposition lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk.

On Sunday, Kim resigned from the Democratic Party, stating his desire not to burden the party. Consequently, the party's fact-finding investigation into Kim and an ethics inquiry were suspended.

In response, the PPP has decided to form a special task force, set to commence its activities on Tuesday. The task force will comprise approximately 10 members, including PPP lawmakers and external experts possessing specialized knowledge of digital assets.

The establishment of the internal task force by the People Power Party demonstrates the seriousness with which they regard the allegations surrounding Kim Nam-kuk's cryptocurrency activities.

Leading the investigation team will be Rep. Kim Sung-won and Rep. Yun Chang-Hyeon, the latter of whom also heads the special committee on digital assets. This initiative underscores the PPP's commitment to taking independent action following Kim's departure. The party argues that the Democratic Party's investigation would be insufficient, as it lacks the authority to conduct a thorough inquiry into an independent lawmaker.

Kim has consistently maintained his innocence, vowing to challenge the numerous news reports that he asserts were based on false information. Furthermore, the task force will investigate potential lobbying efforts by the gaming industry regarding play-to-earn (P2E) coins, aiming to shed light on any improprieties in this regard.

The findings of the task force have the potential to significantly influence public perception, political dynamics, and future regulations concerning digital assets in South Korea.

Implications for the Crypto Industry in South Korea

As the investigation progresses, it is expected to further impact the political landscape and contribute to ongoing discussions regarding the regulatory framework surrounding digital assets.

Investors and the general public in South Korea are closely following this case, as it sheds light on the regulatory environment surrounding digital assets and highlights potential vulnerabilities within the political system.

The investigation is expected to proceed with a thorough examination of the seized materials, including transaction records and any other pertinent evidence. Prosecutors will aim to establish a clear understanding of the sources and nature of Rep. Kim's cryptocurrency holdings while examining whether any legal or ethical boundaries were crossed in the process.

As the investigation unfolds, it is likely to have wider implications for the cryptocurrency industry in South Korea. Regulators may review existing frameworks and enact measures to enhance transparency and prevent potential abuse or conflicts of interest within the political sphere.

The cryptocurrency community, along with market participants and lawmakers, should closely observe the progress of the investigation, as its outcome could influence future regulations and practices surrounding digital assets in South Korea.

In an ongoing investigation into the cryptocurrency holdings of independent lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk, South Korean prosecutors conducted raids on two local cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday, according to officials. The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office dispatched a team of investigators who seized transaction records as well as other relevant materials from both Upbit and Bithumb.

The investigation stems from mounting suspicions surrounding Representative (Rep.) Kim's digital assets. Recent revelations indicate that he possessed approximately 800,000 Wemix coins in 2021, valued at around 6 billion won (US$4.5 million). Questions have arisen regarding the source of the funds and whether Rep. Kim had access to insider information.

In addition to the questions surrounding his cryptocurrency holdings, the first-term lawmaker, who recently resigned from the main opposition Democratic Party, faces allegations of engaging in cryptocurrency trading during his attendance at two meetings of the National Assembly's judiciary committee. These meetings took place in May and November of the preceding year.

Rep. Kim maintains his digital wallets with Upbit and Bithumb, the two cryptocurrency exchanges subject to the recent raids, as the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office aims to gather evidence and shed light on the circumstances surrounding the lawmaker's digital asset transactions.

The raids on these cryptocurrency exchanges mark a significant development in the ongoing investigation, as authorities seek to ascertain the origins of Rep. Kim Nam-kuk's substantial cryptocurrency holdings and determine whether any illicit activities or breaches of trust occurred.

Wemix, the popular blockchain-based game platform, has since issued a statement.

"Reports to the effect that WeMade illegally supported Wemix or provided internal information related to investment to members of the National Assembly are completely untrue," WEMIX said in a statement in Korean (as translated by Google).

PPP to Launch Internal Task Force

Meanwhile, the ruling People Power Party (PPP) announced on Monday its intention to establish an internal task force dedicated to investigating suspicions surrounding the cryptocurrency transactions of opposition lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk.

On Sunday, Kim resigned from the Democratic Party, stating his desire not to burden the party. Consequently, the party's fact-finding investigation into Kim and an ethics inquiry were suspended.

In response, the PPP has decided to form a special task force, set to commence its activities on Tuesday. The task force will comprise approximately 10 members, including PPP lawmakers and external experts possessing specialized knowledge of digital assets.

The establishment of the internal task force by the People Power Party demonstrates the seriousness with which they regard the allegations surrounding Kim Nam-kuk's cryptocurrency activities.

Leading the investigation team will be Rep. Kim Sung-won and Rep. Yun Chang-Hyeon, the latter of whom also heads the special committee on digital assets. This initiative underscores the PPP's commitment to taking independent action following Kim's departure. The party argues that the Democratic Party's investigation would be insufficient, as it lacks the authority to conduct a thorough inquiry into an independent lawmaker.

Kim has consistently maintained his innocence, vowing to challenge the numerous news reports that he asserts were based on false information. Furthermore, the task force will investigate potential lobbying efforts by the gaming industry regarding play-to-earn (P2E) coins, aiming to shed light on any improprieties in this regard.

The findings of the task force have the potential to significantly influence public perception, political dynamics, and future regulations concerning digital assets in South Korea.

Implications for the Crypto Industry in South Korea

As the investigation progresses, it is expected to further impact the political landscape and contribute to ongoing discussions regarding the regulatory framework surrounding digital assets.

Investors and the general public in South Korea are closely following this case, as it sheds light on the regulatory environment surrounding digital assets and highlights potential vulnerabilities within the political system.

The investigation is expected to proceed with a thorough examination of the seized materials, including transaction records and any other pertinent evidence. Prosecutors will aim to establish a clear understanding of the sources and nature of Rep. Kim's cryptocurrency holdings while examining whether any legal or ethical boundaries were crossed in the process.

As the investigation unfolds, it is likely to have wider implications for the cryptocurrency industry in South Korea. Regulators may review existing frameworks and enact measures to enhance transparency and prevent potential abuse or conflicts of interest within the political sphere.

The cryptocurrency community, along with market participants and lawmakers, should closely observe the progress of the investigation, as its outcome could influence future regulations and practices surrounding digital assets in South Korea.

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FM Contributors
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