South Korea: 7 billion euros flowed “abnormally” abroad from crypto exchanges

South Korea’s financial services regulator, FSS (금융감독원) has found more than $7 billion in “dubious overseas remittances” related to cryptocurrency markets. The agency announced this on Thursday, the Korea Times reported. A total of 82 companies were involved in “unusual” money transfers abroad. Much of the money flowed from local cryptocurrency exchanges to bank accounts at these companies’ branches and then abroad, the regulator found. The aim could have been to make a profit from price differentials in cryptocurrencies and to launder money.

The investigation was launched in July after two major banks, Shinhan and Woori, became internally aware of the “abnormal wire transfers”. At that time, transfers of more than 3 billion euros were involved, but the total value has now more than doubled. As the Korea Times explained at the time, it involves abnormally large amounts of money being transferred abroad from relatively small companies with suspicious financial practices — often between accounts owned by a single person or close relatives.

Among other things, it is unclear where the original money that went to the cryptocurrency exchanges came from, where the money transferred then came from. The target of the dubious transfers was by far mainly Hong Kong, but also Japan and China. The Korea Times writes that the escalating scandal is likely to affect the banks involved. The investigation is expected to be completed in October.

South Korea is currently trying to uncover the background of the imploded cryptocurrency TerraUSD. An arrest warrant has been issued for the head of Terraform Labs in charge, but Do Kwon’s whereabouts are unknown. He only assured that he was not on the run. Law enforcement agencies have since ruled that he “apparently escaped” and was uncooperative.


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