South Korea prosecutors investigating lawmaker’s crypto accounts
The South Korean lawmaker has denied violating any law, as no rule requires lawmakers to report their cryptocurrency transactions.
South Korean prosecutors are probing crypto exchanges UpBit and Bithumb as part of the investigations into the transactions of lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk.
Local media reported that the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office had seized Kim’s account information from the two exchanges to check his transaction history and funding source.
Prosecutors also sent a warrant to the Kakao messaging app because the lawmaker used its Klip wallet for some crypto transactions.
The country’s major financial regulator reported Kim to the prosecutors after acting on information from Upbit. The lawmaker had transferred 800,000 WEMIX tokens valued at 6 billion won ($4.5 million) from Upbit to Bithumb between late February and early March of 2022.
The revelation sparked concerns about conflict of interest as Kim had co-sponsored a bill to amend the Income Tax Act in 2021. The bill sought to remove taxes on virtual assets.
While investigations have been on since last year, the court denied earlier efforts to get the search and seizure warrants. But the prosecution was successful on its third attempt after strengthening its charges.
According to reports, prosecutors listed charges such as violating the Political Funds Act, concealing criminal proceeds, and tax evasion in the search and seizure warrants sent to the exchanges.
Meanwhile, Kim, who was a member of South Korea’s main opposition party Democratic Party has resigned from the party to become an independent.
The lawmaker has denied violating any law, as no rule requires lawmakers to report their cryptocurrency transactions. WEMIX was delisted from top South Korean exchanges in November 2022.