A charitable foundation set up by software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo on Thursday decided to keep its name despite a warning by the National Election Commission that it could violate vote-buying regulations if Ahn decides to run for president.
"It is regrettable that the foundation became the target of controversy due to the view of the NEC," the board of the Ahn Cheol-soo Foundation said in a statement. "As an independent non-profit foundation, we will pursue our projects within legal boundaries."
The foundation is expected to refrain from charitable activities until the presidential election is over and use the time to prepare Ahn's official bid.
Political circles criticized the move, saying the foundation chose to capitalize on the popular tycoon's name rather than focusing on its charitable aims. "A non-profit foundation has virtually admitted its close proximity to the presidential election," said Shin Yul, a professor at Myongji University. And Prof. Jang Hoon at Chungang University added, "The foundation probably couldn’t ditch the name since that is the sole factor linking it to Ahn, who lacks a firm support base, in the public consciousness."