The Seoul Central District Court reportedly ruled that the owner and former Chairman of the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange – Lee Jung-hoon – has not defrauded Kim Byung-gun for 112 billion won ($87.5 million).
Had he been found guilty, he could have faced a prison sentence of up to eight years.
The Court’s Final Word
According to a local coverage, the 34th Division of the Criminal Agreement of the Seoul Central District Court found Lee not guilty of the accusations of violating the Act on the Aggravated Punishment Of Specific Economic Crimes (committing fraud).
The authorities ruled that he did not embezzle over $87 million from the Chairman of BK Group – Kim Byung-gun – during negotiations regarding the takeover of Bithumb in 2018. Judge Kang Gyu-Tae stated:
“It cannot be admitted that the stock trading proceeds were disposed of due to a mistake caused by fraudulent acts, such as the facts of the prosecution, based only on the evidence submitted by the prosecutor.”
Bithumb – which is among the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea – said it respects the outcome of the legal case.
“Bithumb is operated under a professional management system, and former chairman Lee Jeong-hoon is not involved in Bithumb’s management at all,” the company added.
Prosecutors previously insisted that Kim paid the sum as an upfront “contract fee” to acquire the Korean trading venue, while Lee assured that Bithumb would list BXA tokens and use the capital from the assets’ sale in the deal. The coin, though, was not issued by the platform but by the Blockchain Exchange Alliance, and the agreement collapsed.
The Death of Park Mo
The court ruling comes less than a week after Park Mo was found dead near his home in Seoul. The South Korean served as Vice President of Vidente, the largest shareholder of Bithumb Holdings Co.
Initial investigation disclosed that Park’s death resulted from suicide. However, some doubted that version since he was under investigation on charges of stealing funds from Bithumb-related firms and manipulating stock prices.
In addition, the platform had a close relation to the fallen crypto giant FTX. While the latter displayed intentions to purchase it during the summer, the liquidity crisis and the eventual filing for bankruptcy protection foiled such plans.