Three executives of crypto yield platform Haru Invest have been arrested in South Korea.
According to local publication Yonhap News, the trio, which includes the company’s CEO, have been charged by the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office’s Joint Investigation Team of Virtual Asset Crimes with allegedly stealing 1.1 trillion won ($826 million) in crypto from 16,000 customers.
Prosecutors allege that while promising “risk-free decentralized investment techniques,” Haru Invest executives were instead siphoning off and investing the cryptocurrency deposited by customers between March 2020 and June 2023.
The firm claimed to offer double-digit yields on cryptocurrencies including, , , and , with around $1 billion in assets under management.
In June 2023, the platform froze withdrawals for a reported 80,000 users across 140 countries, citing an “issue with one of the service partners.” At the same time, Haru Invest closed its offices in Seoul, with CEO Hugo Hyungsoo Lee claiming that the firm had switched to work-from-home.
In January 2024, South Korean prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Bang, a person of interest in the investigation into Haru Invest and local crypto lending firm Delio, which also halted user withdrawals in June 2023.
Bang, whose full name was not disclosed due to local media-privacy rules, was reportedly a majority shareholder in B&S Holdings. In June 2023, Haru Invest alleged in a criminal complaint that the firm had “fraudulently provided management reports containing false information,” deceiving the company.
Edited by Stacy Elliott.