OKEx Founder 'Star' Xu Held in Police Custody: Report

Caixin sources said Mingxing "Star" Xu had been taken by police at least a week ago and hasn't been seen since.

Oct 16, 2020 at 10:16 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:10 a.m. UTC

A founder of the OKEx cryptocurrency exchange is being held by police, according to Chinese news source Caixin.

  • In a report on Friday, Caixin said it spoke to two individuals close to OKEx who indicated that Mingxing "Star" Xu had been taken by police at least a week ago and hasn't been seen since.
  • The report isn't clear exactly where this occurred; OKEx has a headquarters in Hong Kong while being officially based in Malta.
  • The report also doesn't indicate why police are holding Xu.
  • The news comes soon after CoinDesk reported earlier on Friday that OKEx has suspended cryptocurrency withdrawals, citing the absence of an unnamed holder of the exchange’s private keys.
  • While the notice did say the individual is "cooperating with a public security bureau in investigations,” OKEx CEO and co-founder Jay Hao said on Weibo the issue is over a personal matter and wouldn't affect the business.
  • Although Caixin's report suggested Xu is the individual linked to the exchange's withdrawal issues, another report from media source Mars Finance later in the day suggested otherwise.
  • Mars Finance sources said Xu may be being held to help an investigation into the backdoor listing of OK Group in Hong Kong in 2019 and is not related to the exchange's withdrawal issue.
  • OKEx also said in a statement Xu has not been involved with OKEx for some time and works within the separate entities OK Group and OK Coin.
  • Mars Finance also said two executives who had been held along with Xu have been released on bail, though it isn't clear which firm they are linked to.
  • Xu was previously held by police as part of a fraud investigation back in 2018, but was not arrested.
  • As the OKEx news broke Friday, cryptocurrency prices took a dive, with bitcoin dropping around 3% in half an hour.
  • Update (13:17 UTC, Oct. 16): This article has been updated with information from Mars Finance and OKEx, and the headline changed.
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