BNB -0.90%
BTC -0.86%
DOGE -4.26%
ETH -1.65%
PEPE -5.95%
XRP 4.89%
SHIB -7.09%
SOL -2.80%
presale is live

South Korean Celebrities Embroiled in Crypto ‘Scam’ Allegations

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 3 min read
South Korean Celebrities Embroiled in Crypto ‘Scam’ Allegations

South Korean celebrities, including top YouTubers, a veteran of the 2002 World Cup, a race car driver, and a leading comedian have been embroiled in a fast-developing crypto “scam” controversy.

The controversy centers around a firm named Winnerz, a South Korean blockchain-powered sports project and the issuer of the Winnerz (WNZ) coin.

South Korean Celebrities in Crypto Trouble: Who Is Implicated?

The list of stars implicated in the fast-developing media whirlwind surrounding the firm includes:

  • Soccer player Lee Chun-soo, a member of the South Korean 2002 World Cup squad that reached the semi-finals of the competition
  • Comedian Na Sun-uk, star of Comedy Royale and a member of the YouTube Channel Byulnomduel (1.25 million subscribers)
  • Comedian-turned-race car driver Han Min-kwan
  • YouTubers Kim Won-hoon and Cho Jin-se of the Sandbox channel (over 2.8 million subscribers)
  • YouTuber Oking (2 million subscribers)
  • Model and social media star Park Min-jung

Almost all of the above have denied involvement in the controversy. Most stated that while they may in some cases have met Winnerz-related officials, they have no connection with the company.

A graph showing WNZ prices over the past week.
WNZ prices over the past week. (Source: CoinMarketCap)

Anonymous investors have come forward with allegations that Winnerz issued “fake” coins. They claim that investors can no longer access their funds.

Firm Denies Wrongdoing

Winnerz denies these allegations. The firm says that fake coins bearing its name and logo have nothing to do with the company.

The investors said they submitted an official complaint to the police on February 5, sparking an online hunt for celebrities with ties to the company.

A montage of South Korean celebrities accused of having ties with Winnerz – the YouTuber Oking, model and social media star Park Min-jung, and the comedian Na Sun-uk.
South Korean celebrities accused of having ties with Winnerz. Clockwise from top left: YouTuber Oking, model and social media star Park Min-jung, comedian Na Sun-uk. (Sources: Oking/ Byulnomduel YouTube channels/Park Min-jung Instagram)

However, in a YouTube video that has gained almost 3.3 million views in four days, the content creator Oking admitted that he had invested in Winnerz.

Oking made the video in response to online sleuths, who found his real name listed on an official document as a Winnerz director. The YouTuber said:

“I invested in Winnerz. But I have now announced my intention to withdraw my investment. I have ended all my associations with Winnerz. And I have no plans to collaborate with Winnerz in the future.”

In a statement on its website, Winnerz refuted much of Oking’s statement. The firm claimed that it had “never disclosed” Oking’s investment “at [the YouTuber’s] own request.” The company wrote:

“Winnerz has suffered unnecessary misunderstandings and has even been falsely accused of operating a scam. However, we have responded calmly and objectively to all accusations.”

The company also “reminded” the public that it was listed on “overseas crypto exchanges,” insisting it had always been “transparent” in its dealings.

The anonymous posters at the center of the claims accused Winnerz of operating a “multi-level scam” operation.

The posters claim the firm enlisted leading South Korean celebrities to help promote the “scam.”

YouTuber Suffers as Allegations Come to Light

Some 120,000 people have unsubscribed from Oking’s channel since February 5, Wikitree reported.

The YouTuber said that he had also received payments from the company for appearing as a host at a Winnerz live event.

However, he denied accusations that he had received a $75,000 payment from the company. He told his subscribers:

“I should have told you what I did. I lied because I was scared.”

Much of the controversy surrounds an individual named Choi Seung-jung, who appears to be affiliated with Winnerz.

Choi is thought to have masterminded a number of scam coin projects. These include the alleged Golden Goal (GDG) coin fraud, where investors were also reportedly blocked from withdrawing their stakes.

South Korean Sports Star Denies Coin Involvement

Per a separate Wikitree report, soccer star Lee Chun-soo took to social media to deny involvement with both GDG and Winnerz.

Lee has pursued a career in entertainment following his retirement. And in September 2021, GDG used photos of Lee to promote the project.

The World Cup 2002 and 2006 star said that while he had held talks with GDG coin officials, he had never agreed to work with the firm.

Lee complained that the photos had been used without his permission or knowledge.

Lee, who played in Europe for the clubs Real Sociedad and Feyenoord, said the GDG officials had approached him with the idea of launching an NFT soccer boot project.

Earlier this month, regulators suggested that they may probe the NFT concert ticket sales of K-pop star sensation and “Gangnam Style” singer PSY.