South Korea’s Justice Ministry has denied allegations that its officials hold cryptoassets. The media outlet Newsis had reported that Democratic Party MP Park Chan-dae had claimed that the Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon had “refused to disclose whether he owned cryptocurrency,” claiming that this information was “private and personal information.”

The Ministry’s Response

The Justice Ministry has now claimed that it regularly checks the cryptoasset holding status of public officials who work with cryptoasset regulation. It has conducted bi-annual checks on all “public officials belonging to the Ministry of Justice,” including “the Minister and Vice Ministers” since 2021. The Ministry added that its most recent check was conducted in January this year, which revealed that “there were no virtual assets held by public officials [who work with crypto regulation].”

The Issue of Lawmaker Crypto Holdings

The issue of lawmakers owning crypto has become a political issue in South Korea, with some alleging that it could constitute insider trading. 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. As a result, Kim recently stepped down from the Democratic Party, the party with the most seats in the National Assembly.

The Political Mud-slinging

The ruling People’s Power Party (PPP) has allegedly sought to capitalize on this issue. The PPP has claimed that corruption-related issues are endemic to the Democratic Party. However, the Democratic Party has countered this by claiming that Minister Han had “refused to disclose whether he owned cryptocurrency.” The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a left-leaning NGO, has also contacted the ministry to request clarity on the matter of crypto ownership. However, the ministry replied by “notifying” the NGO that it maintained a “non-disclosure” policy.

South Korea’s Justice Ministry has denied allegations that its officials hold cryptoassets. It has claimed that it regularly checks the cryptoasset holding status of public officials who work with cryptoasset regulation. The issue of lawmakers owning crypto has become a political issue in South Korea, with some alleging that it could constitute insider trading. However, the issue has become muddied by political mud-slinging between the ruling People’s Power Party and the Democratic Party. The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy has also contacted the ministry to request clarity on the matter of crypto ownership, but the ministry has maintained a “non-disclosure” policy.

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