Four more people have been arrested in connection with a crypto exchange probe in South Korea, bringing the total number of detentions to 18.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) confirmed the four arrests on Wednesday, adding that a total of 21 people have been booked in connection with the investigation thus far.
The investigation began late last month with the arrests of three people allegedly involved in running a crypto exchange called JPEX. The exchange was reported to have defrauded more than 400 customers out of their digital assets worth nearly 1 billion won ($863,000).
The remaining 15 individuals are believed to have been involved in laundering the stolen funds. Official records indicate that most of these funds were sent overseas and converted into foreign currencies.
Investigators in this case are now in the process of issuing international arrest warrants in cooperation with Interpol to identify the foreign individuals allegedly involved in the money laundering process.
“We will track down all those who were related to the crime and file charges,” Seoul’s Yonhap News Agency quoted an investigative source as saying.
The latest arrests come as the South Korean government ramps up its campaign against crypto-related crime. Earlier this month, the country’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) revealed that the number of cases involving fraud and other illegal activities in the crypto-space rose 33-fold in 2020, compared to 2019.