March 24, 2017 12:48
Seven out of 10 high-ranking government officials and lawmakers saw their wealth grow last year, mainly due to a rise in the value of their real estate and stocks.
The Government Public Ethics Committee publishes the figures each year based on the reported assets of 1,800 high-ranking government officials and 299 lawmakers.
Some 76.8 percent of officials and 79.3 percent of lawmakers saw their wealth increase last year. In the case of 571 officials or 41.3 percent it grew more than W100 million (US$1=W1,123). Ten got more than W1 billion richer, and 59 between W500 million and W1 billion. The rise was largely due to the growing value of real estate holdings, shares, personal savings and inheritances.
The total assets of the 1,800 officials stood at W1.36 billion, up W76 million from the year before. Among the 299 lawmakers, 47.8 percent got more than W100 million richer, and five more than W1 billion. Their average assets stood at W3.7 billion, but that fell to W2.1 billion if the four who own more than W50 billion are excluded. Acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn is worth W2.5 billion, up W361 million.
Some 30.6 percent of the top officials refused to declare the assets of their parents and children, as did 38.5 percent of the lawmakers.
The average assets of presidential candidates Moon Jae-in, Ahn Hee-jung and Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party, Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party, Hong Joon-pyo of the Liberty Korea Party, Yoo Seung-min of the Bareun Party and Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party stood at W18.7 billion.
Leaving out former tech tycoon Ahn's assets, the average is still W1.93 billion, five times more than the average wealth of Korean households last year. Ahn reported by far the greatest wealth among presidential hopefuls at W119.6 billion, including 1.86 million shares of Ahn Lab worth W107.6 billion. His wealth declined by W43.4 billion mainly due to the valuation loss of his stake in Ahn Lab.
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