The Seoul High Court's Criminal Division 5 has issued a significant verdict in the case involving Lee Jeong-hoon, the former chairman of Bithumb Holdings and Bithumb Korea. Lee was sentenced to eight years in prison for his alleged involvement in a fraudulent scheme amounting to 110 billion won.
During the recent appeal hearing held on the 16th, the prosecution urged the court to uphold the previous eight-year prison sentence, emphasizing the clear intent behind Lee's actions. They outlined Lee's purported endeavors to manipulate Bithumb's governance structure to evade financial regulations. Allegedly, when faced with financial constraints and regulatory pressure, Lee entered into a contract with the victim to transfer joint acquisition funds and risks, using misleading tactics, according to a report by Sedaily
According to the prosecution's statements, Lee allegedly deceived the victim by concealing the impracticality of listing Bithumb Coin (BXA), withholding critical information during contract signings, and receiving additional payments without disclosing the decision against listing.
Highlighting the severity of Lee's actions, the prosecution emphasized that these maneuvers resulted in the victim not receiving 122.2 billion won and accruing a $50 million debt. Furthermore, they accused Lee of orchestrating a plan that allowed him to control Bithumb through an overseas corporation, leading to substantial profits. The prosecution also alleged that Lee tampered with evidence by altering the victim's email account password.
In response, Lee's defense raised doubts about the credibility of the victim's statement, citing inconsistencies and contradictory evidence. They argued that there was no commitment to list BXA during the contract negotiations, asserting that both parties operated without such obligations.
Throughout the trial, Lee expressed emotional distress, recounting his trust in CEO Kim and expressing frustration over the sudden lawsuit, pleading for a fair judgment.
The case, which traces back to October 2018 when Lee proposed acquiring Bithumb Holdings and pledging to list BXA on Bithumb, has undergone extensive legal proceedings. Despite the initial trial's ruling of Lee's innocence due to insufficient evidence, the prosecution promptly appealed. The appellate court's final judgment on Lee's case is set for January 18th next year.