The former chairman of Bithumb Holdings and Bithumb Korea, Lee Jeong-hoon, has been acquitted for the second time in the $100 million fraud case.
The recent decision by the 5th Criminal Division of the Seoul High Court follows Lee’s earlier acquittal in January 2023 on comparable charges linked to the alleged fraud, local media outlet reported.
During the trial, which began following Lee’s indictment in July 2021, prosecutors had accused him of fraudulent activities, specifically stealing funds from cosmetic surgeon Kim Byung-Gun during negotiations for an acquisition deal.
The prosecution argued that Lee embezzled the acquisition deposit under the pretext of listing the “BXA token.”
Prosecution Failed to Provide Enough Evidence
However, the court, in its recent ruling, declared Lee not guilty, emphasizing that the evidence presented did not sufficiently establish that Lee had made promises to list the coin.
The judge deemed the prosecution’s case lacked credibility, supporting the stance that the alleged crime could not be proven based on the evidence presented.
This marks the second instance in which Lee has been acquitted in the $100 million fraud case. The initial acquittal occurred in January 2023, where the court found the charges unproven.
What Prosecutors Had Alleged
Prosecutors had alleged that Lee orchestrated a scheme to defraud $100 million from Kim Byung Gun, the chairman of BK Group and founder of a chain of cosmetic surgery clinics.
The alleged fraud occurred during negotiations for Kim’s acquisition of Bithumb Holdings. Lee purportedly requested a $100 million upfront “contract fee” from Kim, promising in return to list the BXA token on Bithumb’s crypto exchange.
The BXA token, affiliated with the Blockchain Exchange Alliance formed by Kim’s consortium in December 2018, was intended to be the financial centerpiece of the acquisition deal.
Despite Lee’s assurances, the BXA token was never listed on Bithumb, leading prosecutors to assert that Lee’s promise was a tactic to deceive Kim and mislead investors.
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