South Koreans’ overseas crypto assets boom to $99B as regulatory focus shifts to OTC trade regulation

South Koreans reported approximately 131 trillion won (around $99 billion) in overseas crypto assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), for this year, according to the country’s tax agency.

According to the document, 1,432 individuals and entities possessed cryptocurrency holdings valued at over $99 billion overseas. This amount constitutes 70% of the total offshore assets reported by individuals and businesses in South Korea.

The tax agency revealed that a total of 5,419 entities disclosed overseas assets amounting to 186.4 trillion won or approximately $140 billion. While cryptocurrency holdings dominated these assets, South Koreans held substantial stocks, deposits, and savings.

Earlier in the year, the tax regulatory authority unveiled plans to intensify scrutiny on individuals who fail to report their foreign assets. South Korean law mandates that citizens and residents report overseas assets valued at 500 million won or more.

South Korea to focus on OTC trades

In response to growing concerns over the potential misuse of cryptocurrencies for illicit activities such as money laundering, South Korean regulatory authorities have unveiled their intent to place a heightened focus on over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency transactions.

Consequently, these regulators have initiated monitoring measures for OTC cryptocurrency trading activities within the country.

The decision was officially disclosed during a session titled “Criminal Legal Issues Related to Virtual Assets,” which took place at the ‘2023 3rd Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Criminal Law Academy,’ as reported by a local news agency.

During this event, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Ki No-Seong of the Financial Services Commission underscored the necessity for implementing comprehensive regulations governing OTC cryptocurrency transactions.

“Illegal virtual currency OTC companies have overseas corporations and are engaged in the business of converting illegally obtained virtual currency into Korean won or foreign currency,” Ki added.

Citing a major example, the regulators mentioned the indictment of three individuals arrested last year in the country. The arrested individuals were caught illegally buying 94 billion Won crypto worth $70.9 million via OTC trades.

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