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PPP calls for early enforcement of law on declaration of virtual assets

All News 14:53 May 23, 2023

By Kang Jae-eun

SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) -- A new bill requiring lawmakers and high-level government officials to declare cryptocurrency and other virtual assets should enter into force in at least a month or two, the floor leader of the ruling People Power Party said Tuesday.

Rep. Yun Jae-ok made the remark to reporters, pointing out the currently scheduled enforcement, set for December, is too late and the bill needs to be revised to add an additional clause moving up the enforcement.

The revision to the Public Service Ethics Act passed through a parliamentary subcommittee Monday.

"Given the current high level of public interest, especially regarding lawmakers, it's not appropriate to enforce the law six months later after the promulgation," Yun Jae-ok said, adding he has asked a leader of the Public Administration Committee to propose a modified version.

The bill calls for lawmakers and top government officials to report virtual assets in their annual asset disclosure. It came amid growing calls for greater transparency into lawmakers' digital asset holdings in the wake of a cryptocurrency scandal involving now-independent lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk.

Kim, a first-term lawmaker previously affiliated with the main opposition Democratic Party, has been under scrutiny following revelations he had owned around 800,000 Wemix coins in 2021, worth around 6 billion won (US$4.5 million) at that time, a massive amount that does not fit his frugal image.

They were not included in Kim's disclosure of personal assets, because unlike assets such as cash, stocks and bonds, digital assets are not subject to such disclosure.

The bill is scheduled to be put to a vote Friday.

Yun also raised fresh suspicions that Kim cashed 250 million won worth of coins in February and March last year ahead of the presidential election, a far larger amount than the 4.4 million won that Kim had earlier said he cashed at the time.

"At the time of asset declaration, Rep. Kim did not report 250 million won he withdrew in cash. Where did the money go?" Yun said.

Yun also voiced suspicions that Kim could have used his cryptocurrency dealings for money laundering.

People Power Party floor leader Yun Jae-ok speaks at a party meeting held at the National Assembly in Seoul on May 23, 2023. (Yonhap)

People Power Party floor leader Yun Jae-ok speaks at a party meeting held at the National Assembly in Seoul on May 23, 2023. (Yonhap)


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