Morning News: Coincheck Fund Hunt, Fraudulent Crypto Girls
Police Questioning Man over Coincheck Theft Fraudulent ‘Cryptocurrency Girls’ BitGrail Founder Firefighting High-profile South Korean Crypto-fraud Trial Begins
Catch up on the most essential cryptocurrency and blockchain news stories breaking in Asia and the Americas while the rest of the world was asleep.
Japanese Police Questioning Man over Coincheck Theft
Tokyo Metropolitan Police say they are speaking to a man who voluntarily turned himself in after allegedly transferring part of the more than 500 million XEM stolen from the Coincheck exchange last month. The man is said to have used a so-called Dark Web site to exchange the sum, described as “a very small amount of several hundred yen or less,” into the litecoin currency.
The Singapore-based NEM.io Foundation have traced the stolen XEM tokens to an unidentified account. The tokens have since been broken up into smaller holdings. Nikkei says USD 4.6m of the stolen money has already been converted into other currencies. However, the Japan Times quotes an IT consultant from Tokyo’s L Plus who says “NEM.io Foundation’s tracking speed is too slow” to halt conversion efforts, adding that “urgent steps have to be taken.” In related news, Coincheck will begin allowing customers to resume yen withdrawals beginning Tuesday this week.
Japanese News Outlet Warns Men to Beware Fraudulent ‘Cryptocurrency Girls’
Japanese media outlet Nifty has reported on the rise of fraudulent so-called “cryptocurrency girls,” attractive women who target lonely men online or at cryptocurrency seminars, aiming to scam them out of large sums of money. Nifty interviewed a 46-year-old man who said a woman he met at a seminar convinced him to hand over some USD 420,000. The woman urged him to “invest together,” making a hefty investment in the Ripple currency in her name. The man says he entered into a physical relationship with the woman, and that the pair had even “contemplated marriage.” However, when Ripple prices began to skyrocket at the end of last year, the woman cut off contact with the man and refused to pay back his funds – despite pocketing over USD 180,000 in profits.
BitGrail Founder Firefighting after Devs Call Foul in USD 170m Nano Loss
Developers have reacted with suspicion after Italian crypto exchange BitGrail on Friday announced the loss of USD 170 million in the Texas-based Nano cryptocurrency from “fraudulent transactions,” “temporarily suspending” all withdrawals and deposits “in order to conduct further verifications.” BitGrail has also moved to potentially block non-European users from using its services. The platform’s founder, Francesco “The Bomber” Firano, announced on Twitter, “Unfortunately there is no way to give [funds] back to you at 100 percent.” and is currently involved in a bitter Tweet storm with furious investors.
High-profile South Korean Crypto-fraud Trial Begins
The trial of a company accused of cryptocurrency fraud worth USD 20 million begins this Monday at Seoul Central District Court. Prosecutors allege that the company, CoalCoin, held a bogus initial coin offering (ICO), and held high-profile conferences last year at Seoul’s flagship exhibition center, COEX. CoalCoin amassed funds from some 5,000 investors since it began promoting in late 2015. Its CEO claimed that his currency had been patented in 126 countries, and had been approved by the Bank of Korea, the country’s Financial Supervisory Service and the Korean Fair Trade Commission. The CEO also claimed that investments in CoalCoin could result in “100 times more profits than investing in large companies.” Aju News claims that most of the alleged victims “were retirees who had no knowledge of finance, or housewives who did not understand the concept of cryptocurrency.” The remaining investors were described as “professionals” who were involved in pension schemes and asset management.