South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said on Thursday that it had found additional unusual foreign exchange transactions of $680 million, which brings the total amount of "abnormal" transfers to approximately $7.2 billion since June.
The authorities confirmed that most dubious foreign money remittances involved crypto-related activities because the transactions were transferred from cryptocurrency exchanges to local companies, then sent abroad. The FSS also said the probe found that 82 corporations, including travel-related and cosmetic firms, have been involved in the abnormal money transfers so far.
The announcement comes two months after the country’s financial watchdog said it is proving $3.4 billion in abnormal money transfers, possibly related to crypto activities after South Korea’s two largest commercial banks -- Shinhan Bank and Woori Bank -- internally inspected and found some dubious foreign currency transfer in June.
The financial regulator, which officially launched the investigation in August, said today it aims to complete the probe into 12 local banks by October.
Of the total, 72% of the money transactions, $5.18 billion, were sent to Hong Kong, 15% ($1.09 billion) to Japan, and 5% ($360million) to China, per the FSS data. U.S. dollars accounted for 81.8% of the abnormal money transfer, while Japanese Yen and Hong Kong dollars were 15.3% and 3.1%, respectively.