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Media Mogul Granted Bail in South Korea Investigation into Crypto Exchange Market Manipulation

Authorities in South Korea have granted bail to media mogul Won Young-sik as part of an ongoing investigation into market manipulation and insider trading at cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb. Local media report that a $232,000 bail amount was set, requiring Won to wear an electronic tag and prohibiting him from leaving the country or destroying evidence.


Won Young-sik is the former CEO of Chorokbaem Group, the parent company of the popular Korean production house Chorokbaem Media known for dramas like “The Penthouse” and TV shows like “K-pop Star.” A scandal surfaced last September suggesting Kang Jong-hyun was the actual owner of Bithumb. Prosecutors allege Kang manipulated stock prices through his control of multiple firms with stakes in Bithumb. The probe widened to include other celebrities whom prosecutors say benefited from the alleged manipulation.

Allegations Against Won Young-sik

Prosecutors accuse Won of granting convertible bond options to a company operated by his children using inside information from December 2021 to July 2022. They argue this led to price disruptions worth over $45 million and illicit gains of $1.9 million.Bithumb has seen improved performance recently due to commission-free trading. The exchange still aims to become the first publicly listed crypto exchange in Seoul.

Bail Conditions and Reactions

As part of his bail, Won has been ordered to attend future court hearings, remain in Seoul, and avoid contacting related parties. Prosecutors may appeal the ruling, with some expressing concerns bail could allow suspects to manipulate evidence. However, others argue bail for nonviolent financial cases is increasingly common in South Korea.


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