February 25, 2019 9:41 PM

The executive under suspicion claims he accidentally lost private keys held by the South Korean exchange.

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinbin announced last week it would file for bankruptcy.

According to a February 22 report by Business Korea, the exchange halted all cryptocurrency and cash deposits and withdrawals at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20, citing “financial damage estimated at 29.3 billion won ($26 million).” Park Chan-kyu, CEO of Coinbin, stated that settlements in cash and digital currency would be completed in agreement with existing bankruptcy regulations.

Park claims the financial damages suffered by the exchange were caused by the former CEO of another defunct crypto exchange, Youbit. Coinbin absorbed Youbit after the latter exchange was hacked in April 2017 and again in December 2017, resulting in the loss of 17 billion Korean won ($15.2 million) worth of crypto.

According to a February 20 article in ZDNet Korea, one Mr. Lee, who became the head of operations at Coinbin, stole and misplaced the private keys to hundreds of wallets holding large amounts of crypto and even lost a key to a wallet containing more than 100 ETH last November. Mr. Lee claimed these incidents were unintentional.

However, based on the report from ZDNet Korea, Lee’s claims are suspect because he is considered a cryptocurrency expert; he patented a method of using a blockchain platform for cryptographic transfers and even co-authored a book that teaches the fundamentals of cryptocurrency and covers how to back up wallet data.

Although there is currently no way to recover the lost crypto without the private keys, Coinbin says it plans to sue Mr. Lee for embezzlement. Given the suspicion around Lee, it may also be time to revisit the causes of the Youbit hack.

Nathan Graham is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews. He lives in Sparks, Nevada, with his wife, Beth, and dog, Kyia. Nathan has a passion for new technology, grant writing, and short stories. He spends his time rafting the American River, playing video games, and writing.

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