Two South Korean altcoin executives were freed on bail on February 7 pending a fraud trial. Prosecutors think the executives manipulated token prices to defraud investors.
Per Newsis, the Seoul Southern District Court released Pica Project/Pica Coin co-chairs Song (aged 24) and Seong (aged 45). The duo’s given names were withheld for legal reasons.
Altcoin Execs ‘Pose Flight Risk,’ Prosecutors Claim
Song and Seong were denied bail after their arrests on July 21, and have spent the past six months in pre-trial detention centers.
The prosecution told the court that the case was serious, “so there is a risk of flight.” They also told the court:
“Employees of the company run by the defendants and their acquaintances are scheduled to appear in court as witnesses.”
Prosecutors said that Song and Seong could potentially seek to contact these witnesses before the trial and convince them to testify in their defense.
However, the court rejected these appeals in favor of the defense lawyers’ assertion that refusing to grant bail could harm the defendants’ efforts to prepare for the trial.
Upbit, the nation’s biggest crypto exchange by trading volume, delisted the coin in 2021. The firm behind the coin appealed the decision.
South Korean Crypto Crime on the Rise?
The prosecution thinks the duo operated a scheme with a pair of famous stock traders.
Between them, prosecutors believe, the group raised around $25.5 million from investors by “falsely promoting the performance” of the altcoin.
This artificially “raised the price of the cryptoasset,” prosecution officials said. And when the price climbed high enough, prosecutors said, the quartet “sold their coins.”
The Pica Coin project is based – its masterminds claim – on the concept of “jointly owning expensive and famous works of art.” Prosecutors doubt the veracity of these claims.
South Korean courts are becoming increasingly busy with crypto-related cases. Many of these pertain to little-known altcoins and bogus exchanges.
Earlier this month, two crypto exchange executives were jailed on altcoin price manipulation charges.
And a report claimed that South Korean public spaces are now “polluted” with crypto-powered drugs left by narcotics dealers.
— The Korea Herald 코리아헤럴드 (@TheKoreaHerald) February 7, 2024
Police say that buyers pay dealers in crypto. The latter then leave bags of drugs hidden in water meters, elementary school playgrounds, apartment mailboxes, and drainpipes.
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