South Korean prosecutors seek life sentences for seven former executives of a now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange accused of defrauding nearly $1.9 billion from investors.
The executives allegedly stole about $1.87 billion from investors
Prosecutors have asked the court to seek life sentences for all seven executives of crypto exchange V Global. The suspects were arrested on charges of defrauding 52,419 customers of KRW 2 trillion ($1.87 billion) by promising them a 300% profit on investments in virtual assets. Investors received some of the promised return, but prosecutors allege the exchange took those funds from the deposits of newer customers. In addition, the exchange allegedly guaranteed a $1,000 commission to those who referred new customers to the exchange.
Prosecutors said, “The defendants systematically and deliberately committed crimes against the elderly or young people who did not have guaranteed retirement age. We are appealing,” explaining the reason for the sentence. V Global’s former CEO Lee then apologized to the victims and said there was no intent to defraud. Other former executives have vowed to repay investors their money but said they knew nothing about the alleged fraud.
What happened at V Global?
According to police, the 52,000 victims were lured to the exchange with promises of high returns. The exchange required new members to set up accounts with 6 million Korean won (about US$5,300) as their initial deposit, allegedly guaranteeing a return of 18 million won. Investors claimed that more victims and funds were involved in the case, more than 60,000 and US$3.3 billion. V Global’s website had not been updated since May when millions of assets were frozen.
About 30 members of the ‘V Global Emergency Response Committee,’ a group of victims, watched the trial that day, and one of the victims said, “The promises made by the accused to recover their damages are only excuses for commuting their sentences. I want them to come down,” The sentencing for Lee and the other executives is scheduled for the 11th of next month.