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Bithumb Owner Arrested in South Korea Over Alleged Embezzlement

As the presumed valid owner of the exchange is apprehended, the net is closing in on Bithumb executives.

The alleged valid owner of Bithumb, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has been detained on embezzlement accusations.

Kang Jong-hyun was detained on February 2 on embezzlement charges, according to local media sources. On January 25, the Seoul Southern District Court issued an arrest warrant for the businessman, charging him with dereliction of duty, market manipulation, and fraudulent transactions.

Kang Ji-yeon, the CEO of Bithumb affiliate Inbiogen, is the elder brother of the 41-year-old. The company owns most of Vidente Vidente, the largest stakeholder in Bithumb, with a 34.2% stake.

Prosecutors claim the brothers conspired to steal company cash and manipulate stock prices at Inbiogen and video production firm Bucket Studio by issuing convertible notes.

Kang Ji-yeon, CEO of Bucket Studio, apologized to shareholders and claimed the charges against his brother were “unconfirmed,” adding that he would assist authorities in the inquiry.

Cointelegraph revealed on January 10 that the South Korean National Tax Service agency had initiated an inquiry into South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. As part of the continuing tax investigation, investigators reportedly raided Bithumb’s Seoul headquarters.

Park Mo, Bithumb’s largest shareholder, was discovered dead in front of his home in late December.

He was also under investigation for alleged embezzlement and market manipulation. In addition, park Mo was thought to have committed suicide due to the allegations against him.

According to CoinGecko, Bithumb has a daily trading volume of $370 million. The exchange, founded in 2014, provides 191 currencies and 287 trading pairings, with BTC/KRW being the most popular.

 

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