Coinone Staffers Arrested By South Korean Law Enforcement


  • A number of staff at South Korean crypto exchange Coinone were arrested for violating criminal acts and breaching trust.
  • The arrest followed investigations into unlawful token listings at the digital asset trading venue.
  • At least one high-ranking member of the platform’s listing team allegedly received $1.5 million in bribes to list certain cryptocurrencies on the exchange.
  • One of the tokens in question is tied to a possible murder, investigators said.

Workers at major South Korean crypto exchange Coinone were arrested following an investigation on certain digital asset listings at the “Big 4” Korean exchange. CoinDesk Korea reported on Tuesday that the employees in question were deemed a flight risk and detained.

Seoul Southern District Court Chief Judge Kim Ji-Sook who issued the arrest warrants said “There is concern about escaping” before permitting law enforcement to arrest the suspects.

Kim Mo who led Coinone’s listing division allegedly broke the Concealment of Criminal Proceeds Act, the report said. Breach of trust allegations were also thrown at Kim Mo, along with another person named Hwang Mo.

Working as a listing broker, Hwang supposedly paid 2 billion won or roughly $1.5 million to Kim. The funds were transferred as bribes in exchange for listing certain cryptocurrencies. The ex-director of listings at Coinone, a certain Mr. Jeon, also received payments in exchange for circumventing listing procedures and approving specific digital assets for trading, investigators claimed.

According to reports, one of the unlawfully listed coins might be tied to a possible murder. The coin called “Furiever Coin” was named by police in a case that involves a 48-year-old individual kidnapped in the Gangnam district of South Korea’s capital, Seoul. Authorities suspect that the kidnapping and murder served as retaliation for a crypto investment on Coinone that went south.

Coinone, A Member of Korea’s Big 4

Kevin Cha founded Coinone in 2014 as a crypto exchange servicing South Korean digital asset users. The platform spread to other Asian markets like Indonesia by 2017 as part of business expansion strategies.

Together with Bithumb, UPbit, and Korbit, Coinone forms South Korea’s infamous “Big 4”. The four platforms handle around 90% of all crypto trading volume in the country. Daily trading volume on the Coinone exchange was above $79 million, per CoinMarkertCap data.