South Korean officials seized more than 53 billion won (US$47 million) in crypto from 12,000 people accused of tax evasion, the Financial Times reported.
- The seizures are part of a months-long probe, The FT said Wednesday, citing the government for Gyeonggi province that encompasses the greater Seoul area.
- Officials called it the largest "cryptocurrency seizure for back taxes in Korean history."
- Local exchanges that did not collect resident registration numbers of account holders were used to conceal assets, according to the Gyeonggi government.
- Investigators instead used mobile phone numbers to track down the alleged tax evaders. They included a "renowned home-shopping channel show host" who owed over $17,000 in tax and held $440,000 worth of crypto.
- The seizure forms part of a broader crackdown on the crypto industry in South Korea in a bid by the country to tackle fraud and money laundering.
- Crypto exchanges have until September to register with the financial regulator as virtual-asset service providers so the legality of their operations can be determined.