South Korea announces crypto crime unit

Posted 11 March, 2019

South Korea's General Prosecutor Office has announced a new crypto crime prevention unit at the end of last week.

According to the local media, the authority's decision was driven by the escalating number of crime cases detected in the crypto segment. The new unit is said to be focused on exposing frauds and taking measures against money laundering activities connected with cryptos. However, it will not be restrained by the crypto market and will cover other crimes in the fintech space.

The task force trace accounts and money flows of the individuals that are suspected of illegal money transfers. However, the authority refuses to comment on the instruments and methods that will be used during the process of investigation. Moreover, the unit will also share discovered data with other state bodies, provide assistance in investors' class actions, etc.

The local media noted a dramatic increase in the number of crypto crimes over the past few years. As the available data showed, the figures soared from 53 in 2016 to 453 and 4,591 in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Besides, Seoul decided to ban ICO back in late 2017 just because of a high level of crimes in the crypto market, which affected investors. Still, its decision seems to fail to deliver expectations especially given the above-mentioned data.

Notably, the leading crypto exchanges in the country (including Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit) expressed intentions to take joint measures against money laundering activities and fraud schemes in the market.

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11 March, 2019 15:56

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