Vice-President of Bithumb’s Largest Shareholder found dead

Paigambar Mohan Raj
Source: Bloomberg

According to local South Korean news outlets, the Vice President of Vidente Co. (surname Park) was found dead in front of his house in southern Seoul. The firm is the biggest shareholder of Bithumb Holdings Co., which controls the crypto exchange Bithumb.

Before his death, Park was under investigation on charges of embezzlement and stock price manipulation. Allegedly, Park oversaw accounting for Kang Ji-Yeon and her brother Kang Jong-Hyun when he was the Vice President of Vidente. Ji-Yeon is the head of the kiosk supplier Inbiogen, which holds the largest share in Vidente.

There are allegations that the Kang siblings framed Park for embezzlement and share price manipulation. There are several reasons for suspicion surrounding the Kang siblings. These include their alleged involvement in shady stock market manipulation, the issuance of convertible bonds, and the creation of slush funds through the theft of funds from businesses operating under false identities.

The affiliates of the crypto exchange Bithumb, Vidente, Inbiogen, and Bucket Studio, faced seizure by South Korean authorities in October. Moreover, an official of a Bithumb subsidiary faced trial on November 16 on allegations of hiding and destroying evidence.  The defendant faced charges of concealing and destroying investment-related documents before the search and seizure.

Additionally, upon Park’s passing, prosecutors will likely end their case against him.

Rough year for crypto

Crypto enthusiasts paid a hefty price for the lessons from a terrible 2022. After Bitcoin and Ethereum reached record highs in 2021, the cryptocurrency market was optimistic at the start of this year. Additionally, positive moves were influenced by the non-fungible token (NFT) explosion, Bitcoin futures ETFs, and the perception that cryptocurrencies were entering the mainstream.

However, the year is ending with the exact opposite sentiment. People are distrustful of exchanges, NFTs have plummeted, and institutions are shying away from crypto. Nonetheless, as we bid farewell to what is probably the worst year crypto, many are looking forward to a new start.