South Korean Justice Ministry Hits Out at Claims it ‘Refused to Say’ if Minister Owns Crypto
South Korea’s Justice Ministry has hit out at claims that Minister Han Dong-hoon “refused to disclose information” about whether or not he owns crypto.
Per the media outlet Newsis, the ministry claimed that “the cryptoasset holding status of public officials who work with cryptoasset [regulation]” is “checked regularly.”
The ministry claimed that it conducted bi-annual checks on all “public officials belonging to the Ministry of Justice,” including “the Minister and Vice Ministers.”
It added that it had begun to check officials in this manner in 2021.
And it said that its most recent check was conducted in January this year.
The latest check, the ministry claimed revealed that “there were no virtual assets held by public officials [who work with crypto regulation].”
The matter of lawmakers owning crypto has become a political hot potato in South Korea this month.
Outcry has followed allegations that Kim Nam-kuk, a lawmaker who served on a policy-making committee, sold cryptoassets in anticipation of the National Assembly's adoption of the Travel Rule.
This, some have alleged, could constitute insider trading.
But the issue has become muddied by political mud-slinging.
South Korean Lawmakers Wade into Crypto Debate
Kim recently stepped down from the Democratic Party, the party with the most seats in the National Assembly.
The ruling People’s Power Party (PPP), some think, has sought to capitalize on this.
The PPP has claimed that corruption-related issues are endemic to the Democratic Party.
And the latter has countered.
Park Chan-dae, a Democratic Party MP this week claimed that Minister Han had “refused to disclose whether he owned cryptocurrency,” claiming that this information was “private and personal information.”
Park claimed that the question of whether or not Han owns cryptoassets or not should be settled in public.
Park added that “refusing” to comment on the matter was unacceptable.
The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a left-leaning NGO, said that it had contacted the ministry on May 8.
The NGO said it had sent the ministry a request for clarity on the matter of crypto ownership.
But the group stated that the “Ministry of Justice” had replied by “notifying” the NGO that it maintained a “non-disclosure” policy.