The 34th Division of the Criminal Agreement of the Seoul Central District Court rendered a not-guilty verdict on January 3 against Lee Jung-hoon, the former chair of the South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb.
Jung-Hoon was accused of breaking the Act on the Aggravated Punishment Of Specific Economic Crimes due to fraud.
The lawsuit has been ongoing since October 2018, when the former chairman is accused of defrauding Kim Byung-gun, the chairman of the cosmetic surgery business BK Group, of 100 billion won ($70 million).
Crypto exchange Bithumb reaction to the ruling
If proven guilty, Jung-hoon could have earned an 8-year imprisonment. In its formal response to the judgment, Bithumb reportedly stated that it respected the court’s ruling.
The exchange also made it clear that the former chairman is not involved in the current operations and that it is under “professional managers.”
Nearly a week before the decision, on December 30, Park Mo, the executive with the highest stake in Bithumb, was found dead after being accused of theft and stock price manipulation. The sources claimed that Mr. Park Mo was discovered deceased quite early in the morning in front of his home. He presided over a business that owned one of the biggest shares in the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange up to his death.
Former chair Jung-hoon’s road to freedom
These developments occurred in response to a ruling rendered by Singaporean courts in August 2022, which found Byung-gun guilty of selling BXA tokens without Jung-hoon’s permission.
He was required by the judge to give the Singapore-based organization BTHMB all of the funds he received from the sale of BXA.
Later that month of October 2022, during the upheaval in the Terra ecosystem, Jung-hoon excused his absence from a legislative hearing by claiming to have a mental illness.
Following the bankruptcy of Terra Luna, South Korean authorities investigated a number of firms, including Bithumb.
After the collapse, South Korean exchanges established an emergency procedure as a safeguard against a similar Terra-like occurrence. All regional exchanges must now list tokens in accordance with the same rules in order to guarantee adherence to national laws.