South Korean prosecutors have raided two of the country’s largest coin trading platforms within an investigation into the crypto investments of a politician. They seized materials from Upbit and Bithumb amid suspicions of wrongdoing related to the lawmaker’s cryptocurrency holdings.
South Korean Law Enforcement Authorities Check Records From 3 Crypto Platforms
Investigators from the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office raided two leading domestic digital asset exchanges on Monday as part of an investigation launched in response to a growing scandal with the suspicious crypto dealings of an opposition lawmaker.
Kim Nam-kuk, a first-term member of South Korea’s National Assembly, came under fire following revelations that he owned around 800,000 Wemix coins in 2021, worth around 6 billion won (US$4.5 million) at the time. On Sunday, he quit the Democratic Party.
Transaction records and other materials have been seized from the exchanges Upbit and Bithumb as well as Kakao Klip, a blockchain platform run by the Korean tech giant Kakao Corp, the Yonhap news agency revealed, quoting prosecutors.
According to the report, Kim has digital wallets on the three platforms and allegedly transferred the coins from Bithumb to Upbit early last year. The Korea Financial Intelligence Unit flagged the transactions as suspicious and reported it to the Prosecutor’s Office.
The politician is believed to have withdrawn the assets ahead of the enforcement of the so-called ‘Travel Rule’ in South Korea which requires exchanges to report personal information about crypto owners when a transferred amount exceeds a 1 million won threshold.
Kim, who was among the sponsors of a bill delaying income taxation of virtual assets in 2021, has also faced allegations that he traded coins during meetings of the parliament’s judiciary committee last year. He has been the target of accusations of conflict of interest and using insider information as well as suspicions regarding the source of the money for his crypto investments.
Prosecutors sought a search and seizure warrant for Kim Nam-kuk’s crypto wallets on two occasions late last year, but a South Korean court dismissed the requests. However, as the scandal snowballed in recent weeks, they expanded their probe and were able to eventually secure a warrant to search the cryptocurrency platforms.
Kim maintains there was nothing wrong with his crypto trading and has vowed to hold publications accountable for what he views as media reports based on false information. Meanwhile, the issuer of the Wemix token, Wemade, has denied allegations of involvement with the lawmaker’s crypto dealings and also threatened to take legal action against fake news.