UPBit, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, was raided by local Seoul police and ten investigators from the Korean Financial Intelligence Unit and Korean Financial Services Commission, over fraud allegations.
According to reports from an official representing the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office, authorities searched UPbit’s head office in the Gangnam-gu district on Thursday and Friday. The South Korean exchange is suspected to have allegedly transferred customer funds to the accounts of unnamed UPbit executives.
Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office claims that investigators seized hard drives and accounting records from the exchange’s offices, and expect the analysis to “take days.”
UPBit has confirmed the investigation via a statement posted on the exchange’s support site, offering the following to ease concerned investor’s minds:
"UPbit is currently under investigation by the prosecution, and we are working diligently. UPbit services such as all transactions and withdrawals are operating normally. Your assets are kept securely in your account, so you can rest assured that you can use UPbit services."
South Korea has some of the most stringent policies on cryptocurrency, with the nation’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon believing that crypto might cause “serious pathological phenomenons,” such as turning kids on to illegal activities “like drug dealing or multi-level marketing for frauds.”
Similarly to UPBit, prosecutors raided three other cryptocurrency exchanges back in March for allegations of embezzling customer’s funds. The investigation of one of the three exchanges, Coinnest, resulted in the company’s CEO Kim Ik-hwan being arrested for allegedly stealing user’s funds and moving them to his own personal wallet.
Bitcoin and the overall crypto market cap dropped more than 5% following the news.