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Korean Police Raid Firm for Crypto Scam Vowing Returns of Shipwreck Gold

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South Korean police have swooped down on an office of a local firm whose alleged crypto scam pledged to investors the spoils of a sunken Russian warship.

The incident was reported by the Korea Herald.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent 27 investigators to collect evidence from the offices of Shinil Group in Yeouido, western Seoul, and seven other locales.

Last month, Shinil had made public footage of what it said to be the wreckage of the Dmitrii Donskoi, which was an armored Russian cruiser that sank in 1905 in the middle of the Russo-Japanese war, claiming it had been found under the waters off Ulleung Island, east of the Korean peninsula.

Meanwhile, Shinil’s Singapore-based affiliate has reportedly attracted investors to buy the firm’s own cryptocurrency, Shinil Gold Coin, based on the rumors circulating about the supposed value of the shipwreck. The company has been charged with exploiting the circulating claims that the ship had gone down with 200 tons of gold worth 150 trillion won or around $134 billion.

At a press conference, Shinil confessed the reports were unconfirmed, adjusting the figure to roughly 10 trillion won or around $9 billion. At the same time, the firm is alleged to have tendered an internal document to the maritime ministry for excavation approval that projected the spoils at just 1.2 billion won or around $1 million.

The firm allegedly vowed to investors that the value of the Shinil Gold Coin would surge from its existing 200 to 10,000 won (around $0.18 to around $9) by the end of September.

Shinil Gold Coin has reportedly raised 60 billion won (around $54 million) in investments from around 100,000 investors since its beginning. Shinil CEO Choi Yong-seok has been banned from leaving the country as the investigation continues.

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