South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has been dealt a double whammy by South Korean tax and judicial authorities. Indeed, she is the subject of a “special” tax investigation.. In addition, prosecutors summoned its alleged major shareholder for questioning.
According to Chosun newspaper, the National Tax Service (NTS) has “initiated a special tax investigation” into Bithumb Korea and Bithumb Holdings. Both companies operate the Bithumb exchange platform.
Media reported that NTS agents had been dispatched to the headquarters of the two companies, in Seoul’s Gangnam district on January 10.
The investigation is being conducted by a branch of the Seoul Regional Tax Service Investigation Bureau which deals with “special tax investigations”. The outlet adds that the NTS will look into cases of possible tax evasion.
It adds that the NTS wants to “review the domestic and international transactions of Bithumb Korea, Bithumb Holdings and affiliated companies.”
An earlier ENT investigation in 2018 saw Bithumb hit with a tax bill of more than $64 million.
Prosecutors are also investigating Bithumb affiliates
Prosecutors are also investigating the owners of Bithumb. Stock ownership is considered to be very “complex”, with many shareholders owning shares. Among them are a number of publicly traded companies that have no other ties to the blockchain or crypto industries.
The vice president of one such company was found dead outside his home late last year. Police called the death an “alleged suicide”. The man allegedly destroyed the evidence before detectives raided the company buildings.
But the most mysterious and intriguing of all Bithumb’s alleged shareholders is a reclusive millionaire named Kang Jong-hyun. Kang piqued public interest when a major news story shed light on her affair with Park Min-young, one of South Korea’s most famous actresses.
The article stated that Kang was actually Bithumb’s largest shareholder, but he registered most of his business interests in his younger sister’s name. Several vehicles and properties were also reportedly registered in the names of family members.
Stoo said the Financial Investigation Division of Seoul’s Southern District Prosecutor’s Office “summoned Kang as a suspect.” Kang’s younger sister was also summoned by prosecution officials.
Kang’s sister is known as the CEO of two companies, Inbiogenic And Study Bucket. Both companies are believed to be owned by Kang and have been described as “Bithumb subsidiaries”.
Prosecutors raided the two companies, along with other “Bithumb affiliates” in October last year. The officers were investigating allegations that the brothers “conspired to embezzle company money and manipulate stock prices.”
Park’s reps claimed that the actress had “broke up” with Kang. The aforementioned media complaint also revealed that Kang installed Park’s older sister as a director of one of her companies.