Dave – Cryptocurrency Expert
On September 21, 2022, Woori Bank's offices were seized by South Korean officials who cited a number of illegal foreign exchange remittances that had occurred. The Daegu District Prosecutor's Anti-Corruption Investigation Department is executing a search and seizure warrant at the Woori Banks headquarters in Seoul, according to Yonhap, a local news source.
Yonhap further clarified the grounds for the warrant, stating “Prosecutors have already established that the accused were operating multiple fictitious corporations, trading digital assets without disclosing them, and providing false information to the bank in order to transfer 400 billion won in foreign currency overseas.”
Even though South Korea has emerged as the top cryptocurrency exchange platform in the past two years, it is believed that 75% of illicit foreign exchange transactions take place there. The article continues by stating that prosecutors from the Daegu District Prosecutor's Anti-Corruption Investigation Department were looking into the person who was the branch manager at the time and was thought to have been engaged in this shady transaction.
According to reports, the scammers conducted this act to profit from "Kimchi Premium." The Kimchi Premium is a pricing difference on cryptocurrency exchanges where South Korean exchanges offer cryptocurrency at astronomical prices in comparison to global exchanges.
Notably, the Woori Bank raid took place just a few weeks after three people were taken into custody. The Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Transaction Information and the Foreign Exchange Control Act were allegedly broken by the subjects. Between May 2021 and June 2022, South Korea's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and Financial Supervisory Service conducted investigations into cryptocurrency money laundering through banks and discovered a total of $3.4 billion in illicit cryptocurrency transactions.
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