The state anti-corruption agency said Tuesday it will look into virtual asset holdings of all lawmakers to see if any irregularities are involved, after suspicions arose earlier this year over a lawmaker's once-massive cryptocurrency assets.
The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission said it will conduct a 90-day inspection starting next Monday at the request of the National Assembly and a special team of 30 investigators will be mobilized for the inspection.
Earlier this year, the ruling and opposition parties agreed to have the agency conduct the examination after suspicions of irregularities arose after Rep. Kim Nam-kuk, now an independent after leaving the main opposition Democratic Party, was found to have once held a substantial number of cryptocurrency coins.
"We will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the current state of acquisition, trading and sale of virtual assets by members of the 21st National Assembly," Deputy Chairman Jeong Seung-yoon said during a press briefing at the government complex in Seoul.
Kim's coin holdings sparked suspicions about the source of his funds and whether he had access to insider information. He also faced additional criticism after it was discovered that he had traded cryptocurrency coins multiple times while attending standing committee meetings.
Kim was referred to the parliamentary ethics committee, but a motion for his expulsion from the National Assembly was rejected last month.
The anti-corruption agency will closely examine the total assets and compare them with the amounts voluntarily declared by lawmakers to the parliamentary ethics committee.
In May, the National Assembly passed two bills mandating that lawmakers and high-level government officials declare their cryptocurrency and other virtual assets.
Under a revision to the Public Service Ethics Act, top government officials and lawmakers should report all of their virtual assets in an annual asset disclosure. So far, conventional assets, such as bonds, cash, gold and jewelry, have to be declared but not digital assets. (Yonhap)