A South Korean professor, formerly a committee member in current president Moon Jae-in’s presidential campaign, has been sentenced to two years in prison for promoting a scam cryptocurrency.

Fast facts

  • According to local reports, the professor and former advisor to Moon Jae-in’s 2017 electoral campaign was sentenced to two years in jail on fraud charges on Aug 13 — after giving seminars in 2017 promoting a cryptocurrency named “Coal Coin.” The professor reportedly claimed that Coal Coin’s price would grow a hundred times while adding that it had been certified by The Bank of Korea, Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), and the Fair Trade Committee. These claims were proven false.
  • Some 5,000 people fell victim to the Coal Coin scam, with a total damage over US$18 million. The Seoul Central District Court found the professor guilty, saying his contribution to the promotion of the scam token was considerable. It added that his social status and experience as a professor and researcher was a reason behind the victims’ making their investment decisions.
  • The professor has denied the charges, claiming the talks were out of academic interest with no intention to gather investments. The professor remains unnamed as he has already made an appeal on Aug 17 and the charges are not yet confirmed.