Under-fire South Korean crypto exchange Coinbit has denied manipulation allegations after police raided the firm’s headquarters – but an ex-employee alleges the exchange’s “violent” CEO assaulted staff, and extorted and threatened employees.
Per Seoul Shinmun, a Coinbit official stated that “allegations of inflating transaction volume and manipulating token prices are not true at all.”
Media sources believe that up to “99%” of the company’s trading data was fudged, with employees setting up “ghost accounts” to artificially boost trading volumes. The firm’s trading figures had risen so high that the exchange had risen to third place in domestic rankings, behind only market-leaders Bithumb and Upbit.
Per Fintech Post, Coinbit added that it was conducting business as usual – including a range of promotional offers.
The firm added,
“Coinbit is working hard to cooperate with the [police] investigation and will actively clarify any misunderstandings and untruths.”
However, the exchange is now facing a fresh round of allegations involving the company’s de facto CEO, a 48-year-old man surnamed Choi.
According to Seoul Shinmun, Choi (first name withheld for legal reasons) is legally listed as a member of Coinbit’s advisory board – but in fact runs the firm on a day-to-day basis.
A man claiming to be a former Coinbit staff member has claimed that Choi threatened to “kill” and “cut off” the “arms and legs” of staff members who did not obey his commands – and attacked employees with a glass bottle.
One employee was allegedly left with cuts and bruises to the head after one of Choi’s most violent flare-ups.
Choi also allegedly claimed to be a “gangster” who had underworld crime links, and stated that he would call in his mob connections on employees who did not toe to the line.
In one graphic outburst, Choi allegedly threatened to grind an employee’s body to a pulp with a meat grinder and throw the remains into a sewer.
Other people claiming to be ex-employees told the newspaper that they were repeatedly hit with glass bottles and forced to hand over huge sums of cash to Choi.
Choi reportedly extorted cash from several members of staff, forcing them to sign documents stating they would not reveal details about his behavior to the police.
He also allegedly ordered staff to carry out “insider trades,” insisting that there were no rules to prevent such activities.
The newspaper quotes a lawyer representing one or more of the ex-employees as stating that they informed police of the incidents on August 25 – the day before the Coinbit offices were raided.
The case is likely connected with an investigation launched late last year into an unnamed “top-tier” crypto exchange with an allegedly violent CEO named Choi, with offices in Gangnam, Seoul.
Prosecutors had been hesitant to indict Choi due to what media outlets have called “insufficient evidence.”