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South Korean Bank Employee ‘Stole $7.3 Million’ to Spend on Crypto

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
South Korean Bank Employee ‘Stole $7.3 Million’ to Spend on Crypto

A worker at the South Korean bank Woori has admitted to stealing some $7.3 million worth of company funds to spend on crypto investments.

Per News1 and Hanguk Kyungjae, the unnamed employee visited a police station and told officers they had embezzled the money on June 10.

The employee said that they had used the money to “invest in cryptocurrency,” and confessed that many of these “investments” had ended in “failure.”

South Korean Bank Loses Out as Staffer ‘Steals Funds’


The West Gimhae Police Station in South Gyeongsang Province said the employee was aged in their thirties.

Woori Bank appears to have noticed that the funds were missing from its accounts, and had “detected” the discrepancy “through its own monitoring.”

But officers claimed that the employee went to the police station “voluntarily” on June 10 to “confess the full details of the crime.”

Investigators say that the employee’s investments mainly went badly. They said the employee had “lost about [$4.35 million” due to “failed investments.”

The West Gimhae Police Station in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.
The West Gimhae Police Station in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. (Source: hyolee2 [CC BY-SA 3.0])

A police spokesperson said officers were “conducting additional investigations” into the employee and were “collecting related data” in conjunction with Woori Bank.

The employee, officers said is “cooperating with the ongoing police investigation.” The staffer appears to have embezzled funds from loan-related accounts.

Media outlets reported that police officers were “expected to apply for an arrest warrant.”

However, an official declined to comment on whether or not police would be applying for a warrant. Woori Bank will also reportedly seek “compensation” from the employee.

Bank Vows to Learn How Employee Stole Money to Buy Crypto


The bank will also conduct an “intensive” audit and will probe its own “internal control” protocols to learn how the staffer was able to “siphon off” its funds. A Woori Bank spokesperson said:

“We will identify the problems via a thorough investigation and will prevent similar cases from recurring.”

Woori is one of South Korea’s biggest high-street bank chains. It is also a relatively keen player in the crypto space.

The firm’s investment arm owns a stake in Dunmau, the operator of the Upbit crypto exchange.

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

Woori is also reportedly hoping to launch security tokens-related offerings. Like many other South Korean banks, it is currently waiting for regulatory permission from Seoul before further developing its plans.