South Korea Investigates 33 Individuals for Illicit $1.5 Billion Crypto Transactions

4 months ago

The South Korean authorities have cracked down on 33 suspects who allegedly managed illegal overseas transactions with digital assets worth $1.48B.

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Seoul’s Central Customs has started investigating 33 people involved in illegal overseas cryptocurrency transactions worth 1.69 trillion won or roughly $1.5 billion. The authorities have already fined 15 individuals and started prosecuting 14 of them. The remaining 4 suspects will be a subject of further investigation.

IIlegal Transfers for Around $1.5B

The daily newspaper in South Korea – The Korea Times – reported recently that the Seoul authorities arrested 33 individuals under accusations of crimes related to virtual assets such as money laundering and fraud. Over the past two months, the suspects engaged in illegal offshore cryptocurrency transactions equaling a total of about $1.5 billion.

The investigation categorized a chunk of $707.5 million as “illegal foreign currency exchange,” where merchants paid a third party to transfer funds withdrawn after trading the currency on a platform.

The prosecution claimed that the suspects used a further $683.9 million to falsify their overseas remittance records when purchasing digital assets abroad.

Finally, the individuals spent the remaining $83.1 million on cash withdrawals from overseas using credit cards issued in the Asian country to acquire cryptocurrencies abroad.

The report revealed that one of the 33 suspects is an owner of a foreign exchange company in South Korea. He either transferred or hand-delivered $261.4 million in 17,000 transactions via a local cryptocurrency trading venue to his overseas client who wanted to bypass the law.

After gaining more than $4.4 million in profit from this illicit action, though, the authorities caught him and his three companions. They will be collectively prosecuted for violating the Foreign Exchange Transaction Act.

Distribution of The Fines

The Korea Times revealed some of the fined suspects and the size of the imposed penalties.

The South Korean authorities discovered that an owner of a Korean company netted $8.7 million from overseas Bitcoin trading, which in its core was based on falsified invoices and bills. He will face a financial penalty of $10.5 million.

In another case, a university student will have to pay $1.4 million. The investigation revealed that he netted nearly $1.7 million after he sent $35 million from Korea to a number of overseas accounts. Moreover, the student falsified remittance records and lied that the funds were for living expenses and study costs in another country.

In addition, an average worker was slammed with a fine of $1.3 million after profiting from Bitcoin trading. The man and the group of people who helped him operated with $27 million withdrawn from ATMs abroad using a credit card issued in South Korea.

The Seoul officials commented on the news and warned that every resident of the country should abide by the current law:

“Virtual asset transfers under the guise of trade, travel or study expenses are strictly prohibited. Violators will be subject to criminal prosecution or fines.”

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