• Bithumb, a South Korean crypto exchange, has been the subject of a “special” tax investigation by the National Tax Service (NTS).
• Prosecutors have summoned its suspected largest shareholder for questioning.
• Previous NTS investigations in 2018 saw Bithumb hit with a tax bill worth over $64 million.
Bithumb, a South Korean crypto exchange, has been the subject of a “special” tax investigation by the National Tax Service (NTS). The exchange, which operates the Bithumb trading platform, has been under the scrutiny of the NTS branch of the Bureau of Investigation of the Seoul Regional Tax Service, which deals with “special tax investigations.” NTS officers have been dispatched to the headquarters of both Bithumb Korea and Bithumb Holdings in the Gangnam District of Seoul on January 10.
The NTS is examining the domestic and international transactions of Bithumb Korea, Bithumb Holdings, and affiliate companies in order to detect any possible tax evasion. In 2018, a previous NTS investigation saw Bithumb hit with a tax bill worth over $64 million.
In addition to this, prosecutors have also been investigating Bithumb’s owners. The ownership of the exchange is thought to be highly “complex”, with many shareholders owning stakes. Some of these include a number of publicly listed companies that have no other ties to the blockchain or crypto industries. To further complicate matters, the Vice President of one of these firms was found dead outside his home at the end of last year. Police called the death a “suspected suicide,” as the man had reportedly destroyed evidence relating to the investigation.
With both the NTS and prosecutors looking into Bithumb, the exchange is facing a double whammy from the South Korean tax and legal authorities. It remains to be seen what the outcome of their investigations will be, but it could have major implications for the crypto exchange and its owners.