Seoul Central Customs prosecuted 33 residents involved in over  $1.48 billion illegal overseas crypto transactions

Over the past two months, Seoul Central Customs has identified 33 people involved in illegal cryptocurrency transactions overseas, with a value of over 1.69 trillion South Korean won (or $1.48 billion).

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Lee Dong-Hyun, director of investigation regional bureau 2 at Seoul Central Customs speaks during a press briefing at the office headquarters in Seoul | Seoul Central Customs

33 individuals arrested by Seoul Central Customs for siphoning crypto abroad totaling $1.48 billion

The Korea Times reported that from April to September, 33 people were arrested as part of a multi-agency operation investigating digital asset violations such as fraud and money laundering. Specifically, 14 suspects are currently being prosecuted, 15 have been fined, and 4 others are still under investigation.

“Virtual asset transfers under the guise of trade, travel, or study expenses are strictly prohibited. Violators will be subject to criminal prosecution or fines”, the Seoul customs office declared.

It is known that over 812.2 billion won ($710.7 million) was involved in illicit foreign currency exchange. The senders paid a third party to transfer a considerable amount of funds after trading the currency on the crypto market. The individuals concerned who falsified their overseas remittance records to acquire digital currency abroad received approximately 785.1 billion won ($687.6 million). Finally, the suspects spent over 95.4 billion won ($83.5 million) on cash withdrawals from overseas using Korea-issued credit cards in order to acquire cryptocurrencies there.

In addition, at the behest of an overseas client who sought to evade the inspection of foreign exchange regulators, the proprietor of a foreign exchange firm in Korea either transferred or hand-delivered a total of 300 billion won($262.8 million) in 17,000 installments taken from local crypto exchange accounts. The man in question accomplished this by using his associates’ digital wallets to store cryptocurrency purchased with cash received from customers. Including the exchange costs, that person earns about 5 billion won ($4.4 million) in capital gains. He and three others who assisted him were charged with violating the Foreign Exchange Transaction Act.

After earning 10 billion ($8.7 million) in capital gains from Bitcoin, a South Korean businessman was fined 12 billion won ($10.5 million) for fabricating invoices and bills of lading to pay a paper corporation he had established to use phony billed products. The funds were distributed in 563 installments over three years.

While a university student was fined 1.6 billion won ($1.4 million) for lying in money transfer documents claiming that the money was used for studying and living expenses abroad.

Interestingly, as AZCoin News reported, South Korea will introduce an overseas cryptocurrency tax from 2022, targeting overseas digital asset holdings. According to the government, transfers of ownership of crypto assets other than sales will be subject to statutory gift and inheritance tax rates of up to 50% starting next year. South Korea’s new crypto tax law comes at a time when other countries are clarifying their stance on digital assets.

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