South Korean Entertainment and Crypto Worlds Shaken by Bithumb ‘Boss’-Park Min Young Revelations
-The main shareholder of crypto exchange Bithumb, Kang Jong-hyun, is said to have “ties” to gangsters
-Representatives for Park Min-young, the actress he appears to be dating, now say she broke up with him
-Park’s older sister is listed as a manager at one of the companies Kang allegedly owns
-The businesses he appears to own are registered in the name of his younger sister
-Bithumb’s ownership structure is shrouded in mystery
It’s a story that has sent shockwaves through both the South Korean entertainment world and the crypto industry – with claims that the mysterious top shareholder of crypto exchange Bithumb is dating the one of the country’s leading female actresses. But while this news may be quite sensational, the outlet that ran the story also alleged that the shareholder had “gangster connections”.
The story was shattered by Dispatch, a outlet known for unearthing public and celebrity scandals. And while the headlines initially focused on the actress – Park Min-young – the story quickly turned to shareholder Kang Jong-hyun.
Kang has been trying to sell his stake in Bithumb for some time, but has yet to find a suitable buyer – despite reported interest from gaming giant Nexon and US-based crypto exchange FTX.
Dispatch followed Kang for two months, capturing footage of him and Park, and made the following “revelations” about the Bithumb shareholder:
- Kang’s business card lists him as the chairman of Vidente, a publicly traded company that owns a large portion of Bithumb’s stock. He is also listed as the CEO of the other two publicly traded companies (INBIOGEN and Bucket STUDIO), as well as the Bithumb subsidiary Bithumb&LIVE.
- But when the outlet contacted those companies, they said they didn’t know who he was. There is no public record of Kang’s involvement in any of these ventures. Her younger sister, however, would be listed as the CEO of those companies. Her younger sister also appears to be a shareholder of Bithumb.
- Kang’s home, eight luxury cars (including a Lamborghini, Bentley, and Rolls Royce) and his private golf course are registered in people’s names.
- Anonymous sources said Kang actually disappeared off the radar between 2016 and 2020. One such source alleged that Kang had ties to “gangsters” in the South Korean city of Seongnam. They also said Kang “did something” untoward in Pattaya, Thailand, but declined to elaborate.
- Kang is said to have close ties to a company named Chorokbaem Media, which bought Park Min-young’s talent agency, Hook Entertainment, in a merger and acquisition deal. To park, Dispatch wrote in a separate report, ended his contract with another agency – Namoo Actors – in December 2021 before signing with Hook. She was photographed getting in and out of Kang’s various cars.
- Park’s older sister was on INBIOGEN’s list of “external directors.” Park’s talent agency released a statement today, Newsis reported, claiming that Park’s older sister has now stepped down from her role.
- Hook Entertainment claimed today that Park has “split up with the individual named in the dating rumours.” The company said it was “completely untrue” that it received “significant monetary benefits from” Kang. Hook added: “Mrs. Park will be more cautious about her actions and those of her family and everyone connected to her. She will show responsibility as an actress and as a public figure.
- Kang has previously been indicted for fraud and falsifying official documents. He was sentenced to prison for his crimes in 2016 and an unnamed individual claims Kang owes them $8.3 million.
- It emerged from obscurity in 2020, the year in which, according to Dispatch, it not only acquired a de facto majority stake in Bithumb, but also Vidente, INBIOGEN and Bucket STUDIO.
- In crypto circles, Kang is referred to as the “hidden chairman of Bithumb” – due to the fact that he keeps a notoriously low profile and prefers to keep his name out of business operations.