Lawmakers' Assets Grow by W1 Billion Each Since April

  • By Choi Yeon-jin, Joo Hee-yeon

    September 15, 2020 11:23

    The assets of 175 lawmakers newly elected to the National Assembly in April has grown by around W1 billion each on average since then (US$1=W1,184). The combined value of their real estate jumped by W15.4 billion.

    The civic group Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice in a press conference Monday revealed the figures, which were based on a comparison of the assets the lawmakers declared to the National Election Commission on Dec. 31, 2019 and the National Assembly Secretariat on May 30 this year.

    According to analysis by the CCEJ, 15 lawmakers' assets grew by more than W1 billion. Main opposition People Power Party lawmaker Jeon Bong-min's increased the most by W86.6 billion, and fellow PPP lawmaker Han Moo-gyeong's by W28.8 billion.

    The lawmaker from the ruling Minjoo Party with the biggest windfall was Lee Sang-jik with W17.2 billion. The Eastar Jet founder is being criticized for evading responsibility for the ailing budget carrier with drastic downsizing while looking for a new buyer.

    The asset increases are partly due to the fact that they declared the values of their unlisted stocks at face value in April, but then the rules changed in June and they had to declare their real transaction price.

    But their real estate holdings also jumped in value with 11 lawmakers' rising by more than W500 million. PPP lawmaker Han reported one property before election, but revised the filing to 34 after being voted into office.

    PPP lawmaker Baek Jong-hean reported owning an office building before election but revised the figure to 27 buildings later. They claimed that there had been no rules stipulating that they had to divide the number of buildings or land they owned before reporting them.

    The CCEJ called on the NEC to investigate suspicions that Minjoo Party lawmaker Kim Hong-gul, the son of late President Kim Dae-jung who is in an inheritance dispute with his brother, and PPP lawmaker Cho Su-jin failed to declare some of their assets and threatened to file criminal complaints against them unless they come up with transparent explanations.

    Minjoo Party leader Lee Nak-yon said the NEC will take proper measures if any wrongdoing is discovered.

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