South Korean lawmakers suggest authorities to declare crypto holdings

South Korean lawmakers suggest authorities to declare crypto holdings

  • High-ranking public officials should disclose and register their Bitcoin holdings.
  • South Korea has been creating a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies to increase transparency.

According to reports, Prime Minister Han Deok-soo thinks it is appropriate to include Bitcoin in property registration.

S. Korean PM on Crypto Assets

In a new measure published last Friday, MPs from South Korea’s governing party suggested that all public officials and candidates should reveal their cryptocurrency holdings.

“High-ranking public officials should disclose and register their Bitcoin holdings”, according to a local news source citing South Korean Prime Minister Han Deok-soo. 

During a news conference on May 17 at the Sejong Government Complex,

the prime minister allegedly stressed upon the significance of integrating crypto assets in the property register of high-ranking public officials. According to him, the National Assembly “can thoroughly discuss and decide on the issue whether or not high-ranking officials ought to put in digital currency in property registration.” He  remarked, “I believe it’s appropriate to include it in property registration”

The prime minister drew a comparison between his position and the registration of other valuable assets to justify it. He noted that precious metal ownership beyond a particular threshold must now be registered, and that similar rules may be applied to cryptocurrency holdings.

Legislation to Declare Crypto Investments

According to Lee Man-hee, a right-wing lawmaker, “It is essential to expand the range of assets that are liable for reporting to incorporate virtual assets — this will serve to ensure that public authorities do not use their position to incorrectly accumulate wealth or hide assets.”

However, cryptocurrencies or other virtual assets are not required to be reported under the public officials’ statute, butrequires officials to reveal held assets like cash, stocks, and bonds valued above 10 million Korean won (US$7,572).

Legislators advocated that requiring cryptocurrency assets to be disclosed regardless of their value and putting a cap on the amount an official can invest in the industry.

According to the Bitcoin statistics portal Xangle, a sizable part of the world’s cryptocurrency investors are from South Korea.The Korean won is the third most common currency used in Bitcoin transactions.after the American dollar and the Japanese yen. South Korea has been creating a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies since the Terra-Luna crash last year to increase market transparency and ethical trading practices.

There are currently no regulations for disclosing cryptocurrency investments and each official makes their own decision about whether to do so.

Kim Nam-kuk Liquidating Crypto Worth more than $4M

The idea tackles the continuing controversy surrounding former Democratic Party politician Kim Nam-kuk. 

The Korea Times reported on May 8 that the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit is looking into Kim for trading almost 6 billion won ($4.5 million) worth of cryptocurrency before South Korea implemented the Travel Rule in March 2022. According to reports, the congressman said that he did not withdraw the funds but rather moved them to another exchange, asserting that he was exempt from reporting such conduct.

As a member of South Korea’s National Assembly, Kim had some influence on rules pertaining to digital assets. Kim is said to be supportinglegislation that would have delayed a 20% tax on cryptocurrency earnings from 2023 to 2025.

According to local media source Chosun Ilbo, he is presently under investigation by local prosecutors for campaign finance crimes, tax fraud, and obscuring criminal gains from his concealed cryptocurrency holdings and activities.