Bithumb Given Clean Chit By Investigators, Albeit a Tax Bill Of $28mil.
Back in January, South Korea’s National Tax Service launched an investigation into an alleged malpractice of Bithumb, the seventh largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume. The investigation was a part of a nationwide crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges, which included other prominent exchange Upbit.
The investigation revealed that Bithumb was conducting its operations as per the guidelines issued by the country’s financial authorities. However, Bithumb was issued a bill for 30 billion Won (~$28 million) by tax authorities. The bill, according to the government sources, represents accumulated taxes to be paid for the past few years.
The investigation conducted by multiple government agencies, including the National Tax Service (NTS), Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KFIU), and Financial Services Commission (FSC), did not find any evidence of malpractices or illegal activities. Even the tax department did not file any case of tax evasion on Bithumb. It took a bit longer for the investigation results to be published. However, NTS clarified that the investigation was completed back in April.
According to a tax official familiar with the investigation,
“The NTS conducted a tax investigation on Bithumb for the 2014 to 2017 business years. I know that Bithumb decided to pay taxes without any objection to the imposed tax amount. However, despite the fact that a large amount of tax was imposed, no charge of tax evasion was found, so prosecution charges against [Bithumb] were not carried out.”
A tax bill of approximately $28 million is not a big issue for Bithumb which charges 0.3% for a transaction. The exchange processes transactions valued at $250 million per day. This means, Bithumb earns nearly $274 million a year.
South Korea banned anonymous account in January, before launching an investigation on exchanges over possible fraud and money laundering. Recently, the authorities announced that they will take action on the Coinone exchange for allowing margin trading services, which is considered as illegal gambling.