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South Korean Bank Worker Steals $7.5 Million To Invest In Crypto

An employee of Woori Bank, disclosed as Mr. A, embezzled $7.5 million (10 billion won) from the bank’s funds to invest in crypto. He started stealing money beginning this year until he previously confessed to the police on June 10th, as confirmed by a South Korean local news outlet. 

Gimhaebu Police Station in Gyeongsangnam-do, who conducted investigations, revealed on June 11th that the 30-year-old defendant managed to embezzle the bank money by forging deposit-related and loan applications. 

The defendant committed financial mishandling to fund his crypto investments to make personal gains, which he mostly failed. The Woori Bank management learned about the lack of funds through the monitoring system of the credit supervision department. The management then asked the defaulter employee to explain it.

The daily chart shows the crypto market’s total cap at $2.45 trillion. | Source: TradingView.com

Stealer Lost $4.35 in Crypto Investments

Interestingly, he visited the police station on his own following the bank’s monitoring system detected the embezzlement, and the situation accelerated. The corrupt worker reached West Gimhae Police Station on June 10th to reveal the extent of his crimes. The investigation revealed he lost $4.35 million (6 billion won) from the stolen $7.5 million due to investment failure.

The police department is further investigating the case, working with the Woori Bank branch to collect additional data about the theft process. The sources linked to the case said the stealer cooperates with the police during investigations. Viewing the amount he swapped from the bank’s loan processes, officers plan to apply for an arrest warrant for Mr. A after securing the data. But the police refused to comment on it, saying, “We cannot confirm individual recruits.” As it should be, tha bank is now also seeking compensation from the thief.Woori Bank Vows to Conduct  An Audit

The staff worker kept stealing money for months without knowing the management. It led the bank to conduct an intensive audit and check internal control measures to prevent similar happenings. Speaking on the possible refinement of the bank’s system, a Woori Bank representative commented: 

We will identify the problems via a thorough investigation and prevent similar cases from recurring.

It was not the first time South Korea saw crypto-related crimes. Rather, it registered a 48.8% increase in illegal crypto activities in 2023, according to a report published by South Korea’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in February 2024. The nation’s watchdog detected 16,076 suspicious transactions, representing a mix of illicit transactions linked to money laundering, drug dealing, and market manipulation.

In response to the growing crypto crimes, the Justice Ministry and Ministry of Interior and Safety disclosed creating a dedicated investigative unit. The officials planned to strengthen the existing Joint Virtual Assets Crime Investigation Unit with new regulations, prostitutes, and a dedicated budget. 

Woori is a Korean multinational Bank headquartered in Seoul, known as a high-street bank chain and a crypto-friendly financial firm. For example, Woori Bank’s investment arm owns Dunmau, operator of the crypto exchange Upbit. 

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Disclaimer: Cryptocurrency is a high-risk asset class. This article is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute investment advice. You could lose all of your capital.

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