Seoul-based cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb continues to grab headlines after a major shareholder had his stake in the company seized by South Korean courts.
This is the third time that Bithumb’s offices in Seoul have been raided by metropolitan police. The latest report was broken by local news outlet Newsfreezone.
It is understood that the police raid included the seizure of Bithumb shares which belonged to the company’s Korean director Kim Byung-Geon which was granted by the Seoul Central District Court earlier this week.
The report also claims that Byung-Geon had been sued while in the process of trying to acquire Bithumb, which eventually fell through. The Bithumb Korean director had also filed an application which aimed to get courts to grant the seizure of shares that were held by the company’s chairman Lee Jung-Hoon, who is the major shareholder of the company.
That has seemingly backfired as Byung-Geon’s holdings have now been seized by authorities.
Samjung KPMG, which is reportedly handling the sale of Bithumb holdings, has also filed a letter of intent to sell its own stake in the company. The company specialises in accounting, management, and deal advisory services in South Korea.
Bithumb’s troubled past
Bithumb was originally founded in 2014 and is regarded as one of South Korea’s most influential cryptocurrency exchanges and still ranks as the country’s biggest exchange. It is also a major player in a global context, as the 19th biggest cryptocurrency exchange by volume according to data from Coingecko.
In the same breath the exchange has been subject to its fair share of controversy over the years.
The exchange has been the victim of a number of hacks over the years. A data breach in 2017 saw users data stolen from an employee’s personal computer. This however paled in comparison to a hack that resulted in over $30mln worth of cryptocurrency being stolen from a Bithumb hot wallet in 2018 – which this writer covered for Cointelegraph.
Some two years later the exchange suffered another high profile hack as cybercriminals made off with over $20mln in EOS and Ripple tokens.
The company has also been under the watchful eye of South Korea’s taxman and has been raided in the past under suspicion for tax evasion. This first happened in 2018, where the company eventually had to pay back taxes amounting to around $28mln.
Bithumb has also been the subject of an ongoing investigation into alleged financial fraud relating to the presale of BXA tokens which were supposed to power the exchange’s platform. It’s alleged that investors lost millions of dollars due to the fact that the token wasn’t listed.