South Korean prosecutors have raided local crypto exchanges Upbit, Bithumb and the crypto wallet unit of South Korean internet giant Kakao Corp., as part of their investigation into local lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk’s charges of campaign finance violations, tax portals and concealment of criminal proceeds, according to South Korea’s TV Chosun News.
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- Prosecutors raided Upbit, Bithumb and Kakao Clip in search of Kim’s crypto account details, cryptocurrency holdings and transaction records, TV Chosun reported Tuesday. Upbit and Bithumb are the two largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.
- South Korea’s Financial Intelligence Unit, the country’s watchdog of the finance and crypto sectors, detected suspicious activity in Kim’s crypto transactions and alerted local prosecutors at the end of last year, according to TV Chosun.
- Multiple local reports claim that Kim secretly owned 6 billion Korean won (US$4.48 million) worth of Wemix tokens, the native token of local blockchain game company Wemade. The amount of crypto owned and liquidated by Kim remains under dispute.
- The investigation comes amid Kim spearheading a bill to delay taxation on crypto income while holding the reported amount of crypto. He argued in a statement cited by local news outlet Block Media on May 8 that his cryptocurrency transactions were conducted in compliance with local regulations.
- Leading members of South Korea’s ruling People Power Party have pointed to a conflict of interest in Kim’s case. Kim, a former lawyer, quit the Democratic Party of Korea on Sunday.
- The alleged illegality of Kim’s involvement remains unclear, while the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office declined to comment on Kim’s case, in a text message to Forkast Tuesday.
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