Most accused celebrities came out to deny their links to the fraudulent schemes, while a few involved have ceased all relationships with the accused firm.
South Korea has been hit by an alleged crypto scandal linked to many popular celebrities and YouTubers involving the promotion of a fraudulent scheme.
According to a report published in the Korean Herald, Winnerz, a blockchain sports platform based in South Korea that runs multiple businesses, including cryptocurrency issuance, was accused of operating a coin scam. The alleged fraud came to light after anonymous investors complained that the company was issuing fake cryptocurrency, collecting investments, and preventing investors from withdrawing their money.
The scheme was reported to the National Police Agency on Feb. 5 after being reported to the National Civil Service earlier.
Winnerz is accused of promoting their fraudulent scheme with the help of popular celebrities and Youtubers who could either buy the coins themselves or help recruit more investors for a commission, or do both. The speculations around celebrities’ involvement with the Winnerz company came to light after users found pictures of celebrities like comedian Na Sun-uk at Winnerz’s year-end party.
One of the key representatives of Winnerz Choi Seung-Jung, whose photos with the celebrities raised alarms, has been accused of running a slew of crypto token frauds, including the GDG and TYP coin fraud.
The use of celebrities to promote a fraudulent scheme is not just limited to Korea or the crypto market but has been a popular tactic for years. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather have been prosecuted and fined for promoting similar schemes.
Most celebrities accused of promoting or being involved with the Winnerz fraudulent crypto scheme have denied any links to the firm. However, a few others have also revealed that they have invested in the alleged fraudulent crypto. Comedian Sun-uk and popular YouTubers Kim Won-hoon and Cho Jin-se denied any investment or involvement with the controversial project. They claimed their attendance at the event was due to other personal commitments.
Another popular Korean YouTuber, Oh Byeong-min, with two million subscribers, revealed that he has invested in the Winnerz project after users found his name listed among one of the company’s directors. However, due to the ongoing controversy around the project, the YouTuber also announced his departure, claiming he had stopped “all projects with Winnerz and have no plans to collaborate with Winnerz in the future.”
Cointelegraph reached out to Oh Byeoung Min and Won-hoon for comments, but has yet to receive a response.