CEO Sentenced to 18-Month Jail Term for Accepting Bitcoin Bribes to List a Cryptocurrency

A South Korean court has sentenced the former CEO of the defunct crypto exchange Coinnest to 18 months in prison. The court also fined him over $61,000, who also was charged for fraud in 2020.


Prosecutors Accused Coinnest Executives of Receiving 110 BTC in Bribes

According to Fn News, the Supreme Court of Korea determined that Kim Ik-hwan should spend time in jail, as the authorities previously indicted him in 2018 for accepting bitcoin (BTC) bribes.

The investigation unveiled that he and other executives received almost $771,270 worth of BTC (at the time) for arranging the listing of an unnamed altcoin — referred to by the court as “S” coin.


However, the former Coinnest CEO and its former operating director, Jo Mo, claimed there was “no unfair solicitation.” The prosecutors commented in the first trial:

The defendants acknowledged or promoted the situation that they were taking unreasonable gains by manipulating the market price on the exchange after listing the cryptocurrency. (…) This crime greatly undermined fairness and trust in cryptocurrency transactions. This is bad.

Although the Supreme Court, chaired by judge Noh Jeong-hee, didn’t reveal details on the “S” coin, prosecutors said the altcoin was issued by K Group.

The prosecution also accused Coinnest’s executives of receiving 110 BTC in bribes for the purpose. Jo Mo’s sentence is still pending confirmation by the Supreme Court.

Former Coinnest’s CEO Court History

The former CEO of the now-defunct crypto exchange has additional sentences on his CV. Alongside two unnamed executives, Kim was found guilty in February 2020 of fraud and embezzlement.

A South Korean court gave him a three-year prison sentence, but it was suspended for four years. Moreover, the appeals court sentenced Kim to pay a $2.5 million won fine, and also to serve 100 hours of community service.

The judge ruled that Kim and the other executives misappropriated “billions” of won, transferring client funds to employee accounts. At that time, the executives denied any wrongdoings.

Coinnest closed its crypto exchange operations in April 2019.

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