Ex-Bithumb chairman faces up to 8 years in prison for alleged $70 million embezzlement


The sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 20, and if found guilty, the former chairman of South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb may face up to eight years in prison.

Lee Jung-hoon, the former chairman of the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, could face up to eight years in prison if convicted of charges relating to a $70 million fraud.

According to Yonhap News Agency, local prosecutors requested the punishment from the Seoul District Court on October 25, with the sentencing hearing scheduled for December 20.

Jung-hoon allegedly robbed Kim Byung Gun, chairman of the cosmetic surgery company BK Group, of 100 billion won ($70 million) in October 2018 during negotiations for Gun to purchase the Bithumb exchange.

Gun claims he gave Jung-hoon $70 million as a “down payment” for the exchange in exchange for it listing a cryptocurrency called BXA produced by the Blockchain Exchange Allicance, which Gun helped to form.

The earnings from the token listing were supposed to help pay for the acquisition, but Bithumb never posted it, and the deal fell through.

“The structure of this case is a standard stock sale deal,” Jung-lawyer hoon’s allegedly claimed in defense, adding that it was diligently carried out in accordance with typical processes for such a contract.

Jung-hoon apologized in his closing speech to the court for “making it tough for employees and imposing social pressure.”

Jung-hoon missed a legislative session on the $40 billion Terra ecosystem wipeout earlier this month, citing a panic disorder as the cause for his absence.


Roland is a Public Relations & Communications guru with an immense passion for the blockchain and crypto industry. A fusion of his expertise and passion led to the dawn of Optimisus in 2020.