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South Korea’s largest crypto exchange not guilty of tax evasion

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A several-month investigation has found no evidence that major South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb was guilty of tax evasion, industry website Coindesk has reported, citing information from the local press.

South Korea’s National Tax Service, which in January launched a probe into Bithumb, has now cleared the company of any wrongdoing. However, the exchange now faces a massive bill for back taxes of roughly $28 million, according to local media outlet eToday.

According to a tax official, the NTS “has conducted a tax investigation against Bithumb for the 2014 to 2017 business years. I know that Bithumb has decided to pay the related taxes without any objection to the imposed tax amount”. The official added:

“No charge of tax evasion was found, so prosecution charges against tax portal were not carried out.”

The probe into Bithumb was launched at a time when South Korean authorities were beginning to ramp up their efforts to regulate the country’s rapidly-growing crypto sector. In late January, the authorities effectively outlawed anonymous crypto trading by ordering digital currency exchanges to switch to a real-name account system.

Bithumb is currently South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume. According to cryptocurrency tracker Coinmarketcap, the platform has processed just over $585 million in cryptocurrency trades over the past 24 hours, ranking fifth among global crypto exchanges. Bithumb’s closest domestic rival Upbit comes in at sixth place, with trading volume of $513.9 million.

Upbit, which until recently was South Korea’s largest crypto trading platform, has also had to deal with regulators. A month ago it was reported that the company’s offices had been raided by prosecutors, which suspected that the firm had sold more cryptocurrencies than the amount it had reported. A few days later Upbit claimed it had conducted an internal audit that disproved these suspicions.

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