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South Korean Crypto Traders Suspected of Exploiting ‘Kimchi Premium’ Found Not Guilty

2 min read
14 Suspected South Korean ‘Kimchi Premium’ Crypto Traders Cleared


Tim Alper

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| 2 min read

14 Suspected South Korean ‘Kimchi Premium’ Crypto Traders Cleared

Prosecutors in South Korea experienced a setback as 14 individuals accused of illicit kimchi premium crypto trading were exonerated.

The group of 16 faced allegations of unauthorized remittances amounting to $3.2 billion, comprising cryptocurrencies, currency, and goods.

According to Newsis, two were convicted on less serious charges, with one receiving a one-year prison sentence and the other, six months.

South Korean Authorities Call for Another Trial

The Seoul Central District Court acquitted 14 group members, including one suspected ringleader. However, the prosecution is still chasing traders believed to have manipulated exchange rates to gain around $6.5 billion.

Disagreeing with the District Court’s verdict based more on precedent than statutory law, the prosecution has sought an appeal.

The case advances to the High Court, where prosecutors are hopeful for a favorable decision.

Explaining the Kimchi Premium

This term describes the higher cost of Bitcoin and altcoins on South Korean exchanges compared to international ones, particularly during periods of increased demand from domestic investors.

While accusations of law violations stemming from taking advantage of this premium remain contentious within the South Korean legal circles, the prosecuted group allegedly conducted such trades worth over $3 billion from April 2021 to August 2022.

They reportedly masked their activities behind shell companies and fabricated trade transactions, but the court struggled to conclusively determine wrongdoing, leading to the acquittal.

Upcoming crypto-regulation laws due July 19 might introduce stricter penalties for such market manipulations.


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