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South Korean Officials Seize $47M in Crypto Due to Unpaid Taxes

2 mins
23 June 2021, 19:35 GMT+0000
Updated by Ryan James
23 June 2021, 19:35 GMT+0000
In Brief
  • South Korea has seized nearly $50 million in cryptocurrency assets from people accused of tax evasion.
  • Around 12,000 people saw funds seized, including a prominent TV host and a well-known doctor.
  • South Korea is planning to impose new taxes on cryptocurrency trading in the near future.
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South Korea seized nearly $50 million in cryptocurrency from 12,000 people, who are accused of tax evasion. 

According to a recent report by The Financial Times, South Korea has come down hard on citizens who used crypto to help them evade taxes. The seizures come as a result of a probe in what Korean officials are calling the biggest crypto seizure for back taxes in the county’s history. The probe, according to officials from the Gyeonggi Provincial Government, ran for a number of months and focused on traders hiding money to avoid taxes in one of the world’s most active cryptocurrency markets. The seizures followed a more all-encompassing probe into back taxes by nearly 150,000 citizens and were the culmination of measures to clamp don on over signs in the crypto markets by regulators in Seoul. The report also stated that local exchanges have allegedly been using crypto to conceal assets because they had yet to collect the resident registration numbers of users. The offenders were tracked down using mobile phone numbers. 

South Korea clamping down on tax evasion

According to Kim Ji-ye, director-general of the Gyeonggi Provence Fairness Bureau, “We will do our utmost to protect law-abiding taxpayers and fulfill our fair taxation mandate by probing and tracing assets that tax dodgers may be concealing in the midst of the recent cryptocurrency trading fervor.”

Officials state that the offenders included a “renowned home shopping channel show host,” that owned nearly half of their net worth in back taxes, along with a property owner with more than 30 residences under their control. The property owner reportedly owed around $17,624,886 in back taxes on his crypto assets. Another case involved a well-known doctor who, despite owning nearly $2.5 million in bitcoin, owes nearly $150,000. 

Korean authorities stated that the confiscation process of crypto assets has already been finalized. If those labeled “habitual and major tax dodgers” do not voluntarily pay what they owe, insolvency and liquidation proceedings of assets will be the next stop. The Korean government is also planning to impose a specific income tax on cryptocurrency trading in the near future.


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