SEOUL — As the South Korean government ramps up its efforts to combat cryptocurrency-related crimes, the country’s eight major law firms have demonstrated agility by establishing dedicated teams to handle crypto asset criminal cases.
To safeguard crypto investors and expedite crime investigations, seven investigative and financial institutions have joined forces to create a joint investigation unit, which was inaugurated on July 26 at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office.
Since the emergence of domestic crypto-currency exchanges in 2014, the number of users engaged in crypto transactions has surged to 6.27 million.
With the unit’s commitment to investigating insolvent crypto companies and coins that face delisting and pose potential risks to investors, law firms anticipate a surge in demand for their services in handling crypto-related cases.
According to sources on Sunday, Kim & Chang, the country’s largest law firm, is spearheading a crypto criminal team led by attorney Kwon Ik-hwan, former prosecutor at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office.
BAE, KIM & LEE is responding to the situation by establishing a finance and securities crime investigation response team launched last year.
Lee & Ko, Yulchon, and Sejong also set up specialized teams recently.
Lee & Ko revamped its existing crypto investigation response task force with a staff of 20 members, strengthening its capabilities under the leadership of attorney Park Kwang-bae, who previously served as the head of the securities crime joint investigation unit at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office.
Yulchon recently initiated a response task force, composed of 20 experts, including former prosecutors, with plans to continue collaborating with its existing teams responsible for financial asset regulation and investigation.
SHIN & KIM established a large-scale crypto asset team of 30 experts in line with the launch of the government’s joint investigation unit.
Sejong’s crypto investigation response center has been reinforced by augmenting legal personnel with backgrounds in prosecution and the police to enhance their capabilities.
YOON & YANG and Jipyong also established relevant task forces in response to the inauguration of the joint unit.
Jipyong’s crypto investigation response TF led by attorney Park Seung-dae, formerly serving as the Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office and including specialized professionals like attorney Lee Jae-seung, who led the first-ever Supreme Court case on the confiscation of bitcoin, is prepared to utilize their accumulated expertise amid anticipated industry changes, such as the enactment of the Virtual Asset User Protection Act next year.
Barun Law established a cryptocurrency criminal response team on July 17.
As government monitoring of crypto assets becomes more stringent, major law firms are highlighting their enhanced expertise to seize opportunities in the related market.
Since its establishment on July 26, the joint investigation unit is currently investigating cases involving coin deposit companies such as Haru Invest and Delio, and coin issuing entities such as Pica Project and Wemade.
With the Virtual Asset User Protection Act, which passed the National Assembly last month, set to be enforced in July next year, competition among local law firms in the crypto asset field is expected to intensify as they vie for related cases.
The law introduces measures such as imposing compensation liability and fines for unfair crypto transactions.