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S Korean Crypto Exchange Exec Jailed for Coin Price Manipulation

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A person wearing a suit holds a bar on a locked prison cell door.
Source: deagreez

A South Korean court has jailed a former senior executive of the crypto trading platform Coinone for taking bribes in exchange for listing altcoins.

The Seoul Southern District Court sentenced an individual surnamed Jeon (age 41) to four years in prison, Newsis reported.

Jeon was the former general director of coin listings at Coinone, one of South Korea’s so-called big four crypto exchange platforms.

Another individual, surnamed Kim (31), was given a three-year jail term.

Kim served as the manager of Coinone’s listing team.

A graph showing trading volumes on the Coinone crypto exchange over the past 12 months.
Trading volumes on the Coinone crypto exchange over the past 12 months. (Source: CoinGecko)

The court also sentenced two crypto “brokers” for their involvement in the case.

One was given a 2 years and 6 months jail term and the other was imprisoned for 1 year and 6 months.

The quartet was charged with breach of trust-related offenses.

Jeon was also handed a $1.4 million fine, with Kim ordered to pay $600,000.

The unnamed altcoins were listed in a bid to drive up prices, the court heard.

Kim testified that he had “no intention of conspiring” with Jeon, and was unaware that his actions would cause price manipulation.

But the judge claimed that it was “reasonable to assume” that Kim was “fully aware” that listing the coins would lead to “market manipulation” and “mass coin trading.”

The judge commented:

“Employees who deal with coin listings are expected to show high levels of compliance and integrity.”

South Korea Cracking Down on ‘Crypto Price Manipulation’

Prosecutors also presented evidence showing that Kim had “attempted to destroy evidence several times” after “investigations began.”

And prosecutors presented evidence showing that Jeon had accepted cryptoasset and cash payments from brokers in the period 2020-2022.

They showed similar evidence that demonstrated Kim also received similar payments in a similar timeframe.

In sentencing, the judge claimed that regulators needed to begin a “thorough process of monitoring and management” for crypto exchanges’ listing processes.

Executives from the Coinone rival Bithumb have also been accused of attempting to manipulate coin prices as part of a separate investigation.

Earlier this month, South Korea’s second city, Busan, announced plans to launch a “digital assets” trading platform before the year is out.

While the Busan platform’s masterminds may have originally hoped to list cryptoassets, plans have apparently been scaled back, with the platform now set to trade digitized commodities and tokenized IP rights instead.