South Korea’s Coinbit seized over market manipulation claims

Police in Seoul have raided offices of Coinbit—considered to be the third largest digital currency exchange in South Korea—over allegations of inflating trade volumes as well as manipulating market prices.

Manipulating the market

An analysis of the exchange’s transactions reportedly showed that Coinbit allegedly manipulated up to 99% of its total transaction volume by creating several accounts and trading among itself. South Korean police estimate that Coinbit was able to rake in about KRW100 billion (roughly $S84.4 million) from manipulating the BTC, ETH, XRP, USDT, and other altcoin markets. 

The police investigation also reportedly revealed that Coinbit has “unclear accounting practices,” which could lead to the police charging the exchange with accounting malpractice and embezzlement. 

Earlier in the year, Coinbit received a “rejection of opinion” on its audit report, and only submitted financial statements that were not subject to an external audit as a result. When a local Seoul newspaper inquired with an accounting consultant on the matter, the consultant said that “The refusal of opinions on external audits means that the company’s operations are stupid[sic] and the company’s accounting cannot be trusted at all.”

What’s next for Coinbit?

Coinbit chairman Choi Mo, along with Coinbit’s management team, is currently being investigated by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Investigation Department. Given the evidence that their investigation has turned up so far, it does not look like the Coinbit team will be getting away ‘not guilty’.

Coinbit halted operations when the police investigation began, and it is unclear when their operations will be back online. Coinbit is the third-largest exchange in South Korea, behind number one ranked Bithumb and number two ranked Upbit.

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