South Korea Approves Bill Requiring Crypto Disclosure For Officials

  • Amendment aims to disclose virtual assets for senior public officials, including lawmakers.
  • Calls for transparency prompt lawmakers to propose revisions addressing public servants’ virtual asset ownership.

On Monday, a Korean parliamentary subcommittee approved a bill that includes cryptocurrency and other virtual assets in the annual asset disclosure requirements for elected and high-ranking government officials, reported a local news platform.

The objective of the amendment is to encompass virtual assets in the scope of property reporting and disclosure for senior public officials, including lawmakers. The amendment is scheduled to be presented at the plenary session on May 25, provided it passes the Legislative and Judicial Committee.

However, the final passage of the amendment is expected at the plenary session on the 25th, which will be convened by the Haengan Commission on the 24th.

The Public Administration and Security Committee passed the proposed revision to the Public Service Ethics Act amidst a cryptocurrency scandal involving independent lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk.

The first-term lawmaker, formerly affiliated with the Democratic Party, has faced scrutiny after it was revealed that he owned approximately 800,000 Wemix coins in 2021. This amounted to roughly 6 billion won valued at US $4.5 million at that time, a significantly large sum that contradicted his frugal public image.

Kim did not include these assets in his personal asset disclosure, as digital assets such as cryptocurrency are not currently required to be declared under South Korean cryptocurrency law. The law mandates the disclosure of assets such as cash, stocks, bonds, gold, jewelry, antiques, and memberships, but does not encompass digital assets.

In response to increasing public demands for transparency regarding public servants’ ownership of virtual assets, several lawmakers have put forward similar revisions. These proposals aim to address the issue.

Meanwhile, it is anticipated that the revision will proceed to the parliamentary legislation and judiciary committee on Wednesday and subsequently be presented at a plenary session later this week.

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