S. Korean Prosecutors Request Eight Year Prison Sentence for Ex-Bithumb Chairman on $70M Fraud Charges

South Korean prosecutors have asked the court to sentence Lee Jung-hoon, the former chairman Bithumb Holdings, which operates South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, to eight years in prison on $70 million fraud charges.

The trial took place on October 25 and the verdict will be delivered on December 20, according to Yonhap.

Lee is accused of stealing $70 million from Kim Byung Gun, chairman of cosmetic surgery empire BK Group, during negotiations of a deal that would have seen Kim acquire Bithumb Holdings.

Kim paid the former Bithumb Holdings chairman an upfront "contract fee" of $70 million under the condition that Bithumb would list BXA token and use proceeds of the token sale towards the acquisition.

The BXA token, which is issued by the Blockchain Exchange Alliance - a group that Kim helped form in 2018, was never listed on Bithumb and the deal collapsed.

"The structure of this case is a typical stock sale contract," Lee's lawyer said in defence of his client in court.

"I am very sorry for making it difficult for employees and causing social pressure," Lee added.

Bithumb did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for comment.