Lee Jeong-hoon, the former chairman of South Korea’s major cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, is in the midst of an eight-year prison sentence appeal that is set to conclude on January 18. The case, which involves allegations of fraud and violation of the Act on Aggravated Punishment for Specified Economic Crimes, could have wide-reaching implications for the cryptocurrency industry in South Korea.
Prosecutors allege that Lee misled BK Group Chairman Kim Byung-geon about a joint Bithumb management agreement and the listing of BXA Coin on the exchange. Additionally, they allege that Lee attempted to restructure Bithumb’s governance to evade financial regulations.
Lee’s defense team, however, has raised inconsistencies in Kim’s statements and questioned his credibility. Lee has argued that Kim was aware of the progress of BXA Coin’s listing.
The outcome of Lee’s appeal could set a precedent for legal systems addressing cases involving cryptocurrency exchanges and governance. As Bithumb plans for an IPO on KOSDAQ by 2025, the case serves as a reminder of the need for clear regulatory guidelines to address governance issues and maintain trust among investors and stakeholders.