South Korea says uncovered about US$600 mil in cryptocurrency crimes

Lynette PayneFeb 01, 2018

"There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency (market)", Kim said.

Cryptocurrencies are extending losses with Bitcoin headed for its worst monthly decliner since December 2013 on the last day of January trading as United States regulators ramp up their scrutiny of one of the world's largest digital currency exchanges while Facebook Inc.

The comment by Kim Dong-yeon on Wednesday comes as traders at home and around the world have been spooked by conflicting comments from government officials in South Korea, a major hub for cryptocurrency trade, that Seoul was planning to ban local digital coin exchanges.

The country's customs service said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 31) that about 637.5 billion won (S$777.27 million) worth of foreign exchange crimes were detected.

Earklier this month South Korean justice minister Park Sang-ki said the government was working on a bill that would effectively halt cryptocurrency trading in "domestic exchanges". Since the start of the year Bitcoin along with other cryptocurrencies have had a tough time since many countries have been talking about regulations or even total ban. No details were revealed by the customs authorities on what action was to be taken against these crimes and breach of rules. Later on, it was clarified by the office that outright ban happens to be one of the steps which are being considered. The partner agent then cashed them out and distributed the settlement to clients based in that country, according to the statement. Annual overseas transfers of more than $50,000 must also be reported with similar documents.

People's exchange wallets, which are used to hold cryptocurrencies online, will have to match the name on the bank accounts tied to the accounts.

Customs also reported of cases where Japanese investors sent their yen worth 53.7 billion won to their partners in South Korea for the goal of illegal currency trade.

The office of customs said that it will keep on monitoring the use of cryptocurrencies in cases like money laundering and illegal currency trading.

After the huge losses experienced over the past month or so, cryptocurrency investors now face new fears of a further price decrease brought on by new regulations implemented by the South Korean government on Tuesday.

The other big scare has been hacking and money laundering.

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