The South Korean software giant Hancom Group has angrily dismissed reports that its chairman Kim Sang-cheol has been operating a “crypto slush fund,” and is the secret owner of a token that was listed on the Bithumb exchange just months ago.
Social media groups and some media outlets have featured a transcript allegedly featuring Kim speaking about a company named Arowana Tech, the developer of an altcoin named arowana token (ARW).
Arowana Tech received a large investment injection from the Hancom Group in April and has been working with the group’s Hancom With affiliate on blockchain-powered gold trading platform solutions. Also in April, it appeared to have scored a major coup when ARW was listed on Bithumb, initially at a price of around USD 0.04 per token, but rising to almost USD 46 within minutes of the listing.
But the transcript, which was published by the major network TV station JTBC among others, appeared to feature a conversation involving Kim.
Per Paxnet, as well as Asia Kyungjae, Kim reportedly said “I own Arowana. That’s the way it is.” He also appeared to say that a “slush fund,” or a reserve of money used for illicit purposes, had been created that “gave 5 million [possibly KRW] to 10 people to discuss ways to make money.”
Hancom has issued a number of statements on the matter since, denying that Kim owns Arowana and claiming that the CEO had simply made a “poor choice of words.” Another statement claimed that the transcript featured “distortions.”
Hancom, a publicly listed company, also denied financial irregularities and added that Kim had meant to speak of “cash” assets, not a “slush fund,” adding that the CEO had simply used an improper expression.
Regardless, Bithumb has responded by earmarking the token for possible delisting and has suspended trading in ARW while it conducts an investigation.
The exchange posted on its website, writing:
“Media reports on matters that may have a negative impact on [ARW] have been published, and the contents of these reports are being checked with the [token operator.”
Bithumb added that it would update with the findings of its report, and its decision on whether or not to delist the token, in the week beginning November 22.
Hancom has threatened to come down hard on the alleged whistleblower who appears to have taped a private conversation and leaked it to the press.
A Hancom official was quoted as saying that they have appointed a lawyer to file a complaint against the person who “leaked the transcript for attempted blackmail.”
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