South Korea Passes Bill to Make Officials Disclose Bitcoin Holdings
South Korea’s National Assembly has unanimously passed a bill that obligates lawmakers and high-ranking public officials to report on their crypto assets. The lawmakers approved the new bill during a plenary session on May 25, the local news agency News1 reported.
According to the report, the bill involved amendments to the National Assembly Act and the Public Service Ethics Act. The amendment to the National Assembly Act was unanimously passed with the support of 269 votes from 269 lawmakers present. The amendment to the Public Service Ethics Act received 268 votes from 268 lawmakers present.
Passed on May 22, the amendment to the National Assembly Act officially places cryptocurrency in the list of registered property by lawmakers. The amendment to the Public Service Ethics Act also obligates high-ranking public officials as well as members of the National Assembly to disclose cryptocurrency assets.
The latest legal developments in South Korea come in response to a major government scandal involving some National Assembly members moving large amounts of cryptocurrency.
Kim Nam-kuk, formerly a member of the main opposition Democratic Party in South Korea, in early May was found to have once held at least $4.5 million in Wemix tokens. The revelations immediately triggered concerns over potential money laundering, conflicts of interest, and using insider information.
The South Korean government has quickly responded to the issue, starting a legal initiative widely referred to as the Kim Nam-guk Prevention Law. The main point of the law is to include all crypto holdings over $760 in wealth reporting by senior officials, just like cash, stocks, bonds, gold, and other assets.
The new legislation was initially expected to come into effect in December 2023 after a six-month grace period. However, some lawmakers like People Power Party’s Representative Yun Jae-ok have urged the enforcement of the change by July.