A government minister involved in Seoul’s regulatory crackdown on digital currencies was found dead at his home on Sunday, reportedly from a heart attack.
Jung Ki-joon, 52, was head of economic policy at the Office for Government Policy Coordination. The official coordinated measures for developing new legislation to curb cryptocurrency speculation and illicit activities, according to a South Korean government spokesman, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal. The police launched an investigation into the death.
The official had been under excessive stress since assignment to the position at the end of last year, according to his colleagues, as quoted by local news agency Yonhap, which initially reported the incident. The newspaper also reported a heart attack as the cause of death.
According to the government spokesman, “he died from some unknown cause. He passed away while he was sleeping and his heart had already stopped beating when he was found dead.”
South Korean authorities announced tougher steps towards cryptocurrency trading in the country in December. Since then, regulators have announced such measures as taxation of cryptocurrency exchanges, banning them from issuing new trading accounts.
The steep measures in South Korea, once a global hub for bitcoin trading, triggered a plunge in the entire cryptocurrency market, which lost nearly half of its value earlier this year.
This week, cryptocurrencies recovered significantly after South Korea confirmed there would be no ban. Seoul pledged to oversee transparency in the crypto market, starting with a crackdown on anonymous trading accounts.