South Korean authorities have reportedly conducted raids on the offices of two prominent cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, Upbit, and Bithumb, as part of an ongoing investigation into the activities of Kim Nam-Kuk. The politician has faced public scrutiny following allegations of acquiring 800,000 Wemix tokens through the circumvention of necessary regulations, with suspicions arising regarding the involvement of the exchanges.
The Investigation Deepens
According to local media reports, the Korean authorities searched the headquarters of Upbit and Bithumb in Seoul to unravel the case involving Kim Nam-Kuk. The Democratic Party (DP) recently called on him to sell his 800,000 Wemix coins, citing concerns that he may have accumulated insider information several years ago.
It has been alleged that Nam-Kuk withdrew the assets in early 2022, months before the enforcement of legislation requiring cryptocurrency entities to report personal information for transfers exceeding $758. Interestingly, Nam-Kuk was also part of the team that proposed a delay in income taxation on digital assets in South Korea.
In response to the DP’s recommendation, Nam-Kuk has expressed his intention to sell the holdings valued at approximately $660,000. He has pledged to transparently disclose data to the investigation team and cooperate fully with the inquiry.
Possible Involvement of Exchanges
It has been suggested that an alleged improper transaction involving Nam-Kuk sparked the investigation into the exchanges. Wu Blockchain, a prominent cryptocurrency news outlet, reported that Nam-Kuk transferred 800,000 Wemix coins from Bithumb to Upbit in 2022, prompting Upbit to notify the government about the transaction at the time.
According to the Chosun Ilbo, South Korean prosecutors investigated the accusation that Congressman Kim Nam-guk held WEMIX tokens worth $4.5 million, and searched the account information of Kim in exchanges such as Upbit and Bithumb. The charges include violations of political…
— Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) May 15, 2023
This marks the second time Bithumb has come under investigation by Korean prosecutors this year. In January, the offices of the exchange were raided amid rumors of price manipulation involving an undisclosed coin listed on its platform.
Furthermore, Bithumb’s owner, Kang Jong-Hyun, has faced arrest warrants over embezzlement charges and market manipulation. At the same time, his sister has also been embroiled in legal issues regarding the alleged inflation of share prices.
Controversy Surrounding Bithumb
Bithumb, despite being one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, has faced its fair share of controversy over the years. In December 2022, the largest shareholder of Bithumb Holdings Co., Park Mo, was found dead in front of his house in Seoul. While the initial investigation suggested suicide with no signs of violence, doubts were raised within the crypto community due to Mo’s close connections with Jong-Hyun and his sister and discussions surrounding the potential acquisition of Bithumb by the now-bankrupt FTX.