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Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provides financial advice. Please see our website policy before making financial decisions.

South Korea seized a total of $184.3 million worth of crypto in 2021 and 2022 from people accused of tax evasion, according to local media Yonhap News. The highest amount confiscated from a single person was $8.87 million from someone who primarily owned BTC and XRP.

$8.87 million seized from a single individual

In 2021 and 2022, South Korea confiscated $184.3 million worth of crypto money from individuals who evaded paying taxes, according to reports by local news agency Yonhap News. The seizures come after months of investigations by local authorities, who obtained this data from local exchanges.

The data, compiled by South Korean lawmaker Kim Sang-hoon, shows authorities seized $8.87 million from a crypto investor who failed to pay taxes. This is the most that South Korea has confiscated from a single person in the past two years. The offender allegedly held Bitcoin (BTC) and Ripple (XRP), among other cryptocurrencies.

The country’s tax authorities began collecting unpaid taxes last year by confiscating crypto-assets. After collecting data from local crypto exchanges, authorities seize crypto funds from tax offenders and if the bill remains unpaid, the funds are sold at market price.

Last year the Financial Times reported that South Korea had confiscated $47 million in crypto from 12,000 “tax cheats”. At the time, Gyeonggi provincial government officials said it was the “largest tax arrears cryptocurrency seizure in Korean history.”

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South Korea continues to crack down on crypto crime after LUNA crash

Interestingly, new data on crypto seizures in South Korea comes just two months after the government deferred taxation on cryptocurrencies two more years until 2025. The decision represented part of the country’s tax reform plan under recently elected president, crypto-friendly Yoon Suk-yeol.

Still, the East Asian nation has intensified its crackdown on crypto-related crime in recent months, especially after the crash of TerraUSD (UST) and LUNA. In July, South Korean prosecutors attacked several local crypto exchanges including Upbit as part of the broader investigation into the LUNA’s implosion.

In addition, local authorities arrested three people last month following a $3.4 billion investigation into illegal crypto transactions. According to the statement from the prosecutor’s office, the individuals were suspected of owning and operating unregistered paper companies and crypto trading businesses.

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Is tax evasion also a major problem in other crypto markets? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author

Tim Fries is the co-founder of The Tokenist. He has a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim was a senior partner on the investment team in the US Private Equity division of RW Baird and is also a co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital, an investment firm specializing in detection, protection and control solutions.

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