Malaysian billionaire leaves business to pursue crypto

Lee Kim Yew will be handing over Country Heights to new directors

Origami horses made out of paper money.
The horse currency is rumored to be named after the billionaire’s luxury resorts.

It has been revealed that the billionaire Lee Kim Yew, founder of the Malaysian investment giant Country Heights, will be stepping down from his position as the executive chairman to focus on issuing a cryptocurrency of his own.

“I am handing over the public-listed company’s business to the new directors and I will concentrate on cryptocurrencies,” he said.

An article from the news outlet The Edge Markets, which was released on September 28th, explains that Lee will be handing over the public-listed company’s business to the new directors so that he can focus on cryptocurrencies.

The 65 year old, who is also known as Lee Kim Tiong, once announced in 2018 that Country Heights would be looking into the development of an initial coin offering (ICO) for the firm’s own cryptocurrency, which was rumored to be called the “Horse Currency.”

While the investment firm’s shareholders first approved of the ICO plan at a meeting in the same year, Lee’s choice to step down from his position is one of the few options that he can take that would allow him to lawfully pursue an ICO.

In January of this year, the country’s Securities Commission announced that ICOs must only be issued through approved crypto exchanges, not publicly traded companies. These guidelines  allow one of Lee’s private firms, once it is licensed, to take control of the Country Heights project instead. Lee has stated that he has “received all the approvals” necessary to take the next step with one of his investment firms, and is planning to launch the Horse Currency by the end of this year.

If he is successful, Lee’s ICO venture would place Country Heights as one of the first publicly listed companies on Malaysia’s stock exchange to accept crypto payments.

Prior to the change in regulation, the initial reports of the ICO revealed that Lee had planned to issue one billion tokens. The firm’s subsidiaries (the likes of which include a luxury resort named the Palace of the Golden Horses and the Golden Horses Health Sanctuary), which is where the crypto asset is rumored to have gotten its name, would start accepting the tokens in exchange for products and services.

Lee added that while this project is panning out, he would also continue considering other aspects of the crypto space, such as security token offerings.

Lee has served as the Country Heights’ executive chairman since 2016. He is the company’s largest shareholder, owning more than 27% of the company’s 275 million shares.

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