Latest South Korean Tax Evasion Busts: Crypto Worth USD 47m Seized


South Korea’s crackdown on high-band taxpayers who used crypto purchases to conceal their income from the taxman has continued to Gyeonggi Province. It caught some big fish, with crypto confiscated by TV stars and doctors.

Tax bodies in the country have taken the power to access crypto exchange data since March, when they were granted the ability to do so. They now look through tax declarations and transaction records to find discrepancies.

The busts have so far identified thousands of people and companies. Tax authorities have had to freeze accounts and seize tokens. In some cases, they have even liquidated.

In the earlier part of this year the authorities took crypto from 1,566 people and 676 companies that were in the highest tax bracket. A few, including a super-rich hospital owner, asked the tax authority to stop selling their crypto, and instead take out fiat to pay outstanding tax bills.

In areas such as South Gyeongsang Province and Gyeongju, smaller amounts of offenders were also seized.

However, the latest busts, including those in Gyeonggi Province, seem to have snagged major players.

It is located around Seoul and home to many of the country’s top tech companies, including Naver, Samsung, and the heavyweight SK Hynix. It is also home to the largest population in the country. According to MBN and YTN, USD 46.7m was seized by the tax body from a total 12,613 tax evaders.

According to media outlets, one of the group was a doctor who also owned a profitable private hospital. He had tried to hide his earnings by investing in crypto currencies. According to the tax body, the doctor had accumulated a Bitcoin (BTC) stash of approximately USD 2.5m.

A TV star who was known for his home-shopping shows had not declared any income but was discovered to have a stash of tokens that he had purchased, including substantial ethereum holdings, which were worth more than USD 440,000.

According to a tax official from the province, the body was carrying out “further investigation” and adding:

“We will seize cryptocurrency that is held by tax evaders and other exchanges and collect undeclared taxes using other tracking methods.”

Yonhap also reported that 137 people were also seized with USD 127,000 worth tokens from accounts on four major crypto exchanges, Korbit, Upbit and Bithumb. Another 36 offenders were also identified and ordered to pay taxes or have their coins confiscated.

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