Bithumb’s Ex-Chairman Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for $85 Million Fraud

Bithumb's Ex-Chairman Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for $85 Million Fraud

Former Bithumb Chairman Faces Eight-Year Prison Sentence

South Korean prosecutors have requested an eight-year prison sentence for Lee Jung-hoon, the former chairman of Bithumb, the country’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange. The charges involve violations of laws and regulations related to economic crimes, specifically fraud. The prosecution claims that Lee deceived BXA (Bithumb’s native coin) by falsely promising co-management and listing assistance to BK Group Chairman Kim Byung-gun.

Bithumb Scandal Deepens

The prosecution alleges that Lee’s actions resulted in around $85 million in damages. They argue that he planned to shift the control of Bithumb to foreign companies to benefit from the exchange’s cryptocurrency while evading financial regulations. The prosecution further asserts that Lee possessed significant information imbalances and “intentionally passed” on various risks to the co-acquirer.

During the trial, the prosecution emphasized that Lee was aware of the difficulties in listing the BXA coin but failed to inform the victim, intentionally omitting details regarding the challenges and presenting misleading information during the contract negotiations. The defense, however, argues that there are inconsistencies in the victim’s statements and points out that the victim initially proposed the acquisition of Bithumb.

Lee Jung-Hoon’s Final Plea

In his final statement, Lee regretted the situation, stating that he believed President Kim would lead the company well and help it grow. He claimed to have acted in good faith as a seller and requested an extension to fulfill his obligations but was unexpectedly sued. The trial for Lee Jung-hoon is set to continue, with the appeal scheduled for January 18 next year. This case is one among several scandals involving Bithumb executives. Notably, the owner of Bithumb, Kang Jong-hyun, was also recently arrested on charges of embezzlement and stock manipulation.

South Korea Cracks Down on Cryptocurrency-Related Crimes

Authorities have been working to maintain integrity and security within the cryptocurrency industry by cracking down on cryptocurrency-related crimes in South Korea. Additionally, the current total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market is $1.342 trillion, with a 64.81% increase year-over-year, indicating the industry’s long-term upward trajectory. Bitcoin (BTC) remains the dominant force in the market, with a market capitalization of $709 billion, accounting for 49.59% of the total market cap, according to CoinGecko.

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Hot Take: The Future of Cryptocurrency in South Korea

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The prosecution’s request for an eight-year prison sentence for Lee Jung-hoon and the crackdown on cryptocurrency-related crimes in South Korea indicate a growing determination by authorities to maintain integrity and security within the industry. The scandals involving Bithumb executives and the ongoing legal battles underscore the challenges faced by cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. Despite this, the industry’s long-term trajectory shows a promising future, evidenced by the significant year-over-year increase in market capitalization. As regulatory efforts continue, South Korea’s role in shaping the future of cryptocurrency will be closely watched by the global market.

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