Crypto Crime Could Mean Jail for Life in South Korea

The new consumer protection rules will take effect in July 2024.

AccessTimeIconFeb 7, 2024 at 10:35 a.m. UTC
Updated Feb 7, 2024 at 10:37 a.m. UTC
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Crypto criminals will face life imprisonment in South Korea when new consumer protection rules take effect this July, the country's financial regulator said Wednesday.

In December, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) proposed a consumer protection framework called the Virtual Asset User Protection Act. The rules take effect on July 19 and cover market manipulation, illegal trading and other violations leading to criminal punishment or fines, depending on the severity.

"In the case of criminal punishment, a fixed-term imprisonment of more than one year or a fine equivalent to three to five times the amount of unjust enrichment is possible," the FSC said.

If proceeds from crime exceed 5 billion won ($3.8 million), the perpetrators can face a life sentence, the notice added.

South Korea has been strengthening its oversight of the digital assets sector, particularly targeting consumer protection. Approved initiatives so far compel companies and public figures to disclose crypto holdings.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.


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