South Korea is taking its drive against bitcoin exchanges to another level.
According to a report, Bitumb and Coinone – two of the largest exchanges in South Korea – were raided by police and tax authorities.
Officials reportedly paid their offices a visit amid an investigation into alleged tax evasion.
“A few officials from the National Tax Service raided our office this week,” an official at Coinone, a major cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, was quoted as saying.
“Local police also have been investigating our company since last year, they think what we do is gambling,” said the officiall.
He said Coinone was cooperating with the investigation.
Bithumb, the second largest virtual currency operator in South Korea, was also raided by the tax authorities.
“We were asked by the tax officials to disclose paperwork and things yesterday,” an official at Bithumb was also quoted in the report.
Separately, the South Korean Justice Department is said to be moving to arrange legislation that would make way for exchanges in the country to be shut down completely.
“The Ministry of Justice will set up its own bill, which sees the virtual money brokerage itself as illegal and completely closes the exchange, and plans to start full-fledged ministry discussions this week,” a report said.
The news is a substantial expansion in the growing enquiry being applied to the crypto-exchange space by South Korean regulators.
Earlier this week, the Korean Financial Intelligence Unit and the Financial Supervisory Service said that they were inspecting six major banks for compliance with anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations.
The government also declared in December that it would apply more scrutiny amid growing trade volume at the exchanges, including moves to curb anonymous trading.
Exchanges in South Korea have seen prices well above those seen on other marketplaces.
Indeed, it’s a circumstance that earlier this week led to a much-talked about change by one popular data service to begin excluding some of the country’s exchanges from its cryptocurrency price averages.
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