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S Korean Prosecutors Arrest Exec Suspected of Destroying Evidence at Bithumb ‘Affiliate’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
Source: Maroke/Adobe

South Korean law enforcers have arrested an executive at one of the crypto exchange Bithumb’s affiliate companies. The executive was charged with destroying evidence prior to an onsite probe earlier this month.

The development comes as MPs and prosecutors attempt to unravel the mysteries surrounding the ownership of the exchange – one of the nation’s largest crypto trading platforms.

Newswho Plus reported that a Bucket Studio executive surnamed Lee (first name withheld for legal reasons) was arrested on charges of obstructing a police investigation. Detectives say Lee sought to conceal or remove company data and “delete CCTV footage” just before the prosecution began onsite raids of Bucket Studio and two other firms with links to Bithumb on October 7.

The “stolen data” included “investment-related materials” that “prove” company executives were complicit in “embezzlement,” prosecutors suggested.

Intense social media and mainstream media scrutiny has followed revelations surrounding the alleged “shadow chairman” and majority shareholder of Bithumb Kang Jong-hyun after a major exposé last month. Reports have alleged that Kang bought three publicly listed firms (Bucket Studio, Vidente, and INBIOGEN). All three firms hold stakes in Bithumb.

Bithumb seven-day trading volumes. (Source: CoinGecko)

Kang is also suspected of appointing the sister of his former celebrity girlfriend as an executive at INBIOGEN. Media outlets have claimed that Kang has registered his business interests and assets in his own younger sister’s name.

Prosecutors suspecting wrongdoing have already swooped and, earlier this month, seized data and documents from all three firms. Now they have followed up with the arrest of Lee.

What is this Affiliate’s Bithumb Connection?

Primarily a film and drama distributor, Bucket Studio announced last year that it had bought a 4.5% stake in Bithumb. And following this, the company said it would be teaming up with Bithumb’s Bithumb Live platform to create a new shopping network.

Kang’s business card lists him as the CEO of Bithumb Live, Bucket Studio, Vidente, and INBIOGEN.

The media outlet added that prosecutors are currently “reviewing their timing options” as they consider summoning Kang for questioning. They may also seek to issue him with a travel ban.