The National Tax Service (NTS) of Korea opened a “special tax investigation” into the affairs of Bithumb Holdings and its subsidiary companies, according to Korean news outlet Yonhap News.
Tax authorities are scrutinizing all group company’s domestic and international transactions to uncover possible tax evasion and money laundering.
Former Bithumb Holdings Chair Lee Jung-Hoon was recently cleared of fraud charges over a lack of evidence. The incident stemmed from the alleged theft of $100 million from the Chair of the BK Medical Group, Kim Byung-Gun, who was negotiating an acquisition deal.
The embezzlement investigation turned up links between Bithumb and an individual named Kang Jong-hyeon, who is suspected of running the company from behind the scenes.
As part of its investigation into Bithumb companies, the NTS also intends to probe Kang’s personal tax affairs and those of his sister Kang Ji-yeon.
Tax authorities have previously investigated Bithumb
In 2019, following a tax probe, Bithumb Korea was hit with an ₩80 billion ($69 million) tax bill in relation to withholding tax on foreign customers’ incomes.
The firm responded by saying it was inappropriate to levy withholding tax as it already pays corporate and local income taxes on its operating profits.
Similarly, in 2018, an investigation found Bithumb not guilty of tax evasion but the company was still slapped with a ₩30 billion ($28 million) bill for back taxes relating to years 2014 to 2017.
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