The Korea Customs Service (KCS) has revealed an investigation into illicit Forex trading practices, and uncovered $600 million (637.5 billion won) worth cryptocurrencies that were exchanged illegally in South Korea.
The statement further disclosed four instances of illegal tradings. In the first case, money was transferred from Japan to an unknown country whereby 53.7 billion won were sent to another person/entity using cryptocurrencies. In the second case, funds worth 472.3 billion Korean won were exchanged between Australia and South Korea. KCS explained that transferring funds between countries with the sole purpose of avoiding bank and remittance fees is considered illegal.
In the third case, foreign currency was sent to an overseas organization (as cryptocurrencies) which were then converted and remitted to the recipient. In the fourth case, funds worth 164.7 billion won were received by a paper company, citing ‘purchase of software’ as a coverup. KCS mentioned that it will start investigating cryptocurrency agents and forex operators for money laundering and illegal trading charges. Other areas that will undergo critical inspection include smuggling of drugs using virtual currencies. The names of the suspects were not revealed in the press release.
The announcement came on the same day the finance minister, Kim Dong-yeon, said that cryptocurrency market and exchanges will not be banned in the country. Instead, South Korea will be focusing on regulating cryptocurrency exchanges. The country has been working on adopting cryptocurrencies, after the ministry of justice initially banned ICOs last year. The ministry also stated that it would be banning cryptocurrency trading earlier in January. However, this move was not supported by the Ministry of Finance, as reported in their official statement, “We do not share the same views as the Ministry of Justice on a potential cryptocurrency exchange ban.”
While the majority of the ministries continue to support cryptocurrency activities, the South Korean government is doing its best to prevent illegal trading proceedings.