(2nd LD) PPP-cryptocurrency scandal
SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) — The ruling People Power Party (PPP) said Monday it plans to launch an internal task force to look into suspicions surrounding cryptocurrency dealings of opposition lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk.
Kim has come under fire following revelations he owned around 800,000 Wemix coins in 2021, worth around 6 billion won (US$4.5 million), a significant amount inconsistent with his frugal image. Suspicions have arisen over where the money came from and whether he used insider information.
The first-term lawmaker of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) has also faced allegations he traded cryptocurrency coins while he was attending at least two meetings of the judiciary committee of the National Assembly, which took place in May and November of last year.
Kim quit the DP on Sunday, saying he does not want to become a burden to the party. That led to the suspension of the party’s fact-finding probe and an ethics investigation of Kim.
Rep. Kim Sung-won, head of the PPP’s task force on the scandal, said the team will include four lawmakers and a group of experts, including lawyers, accountants and professors.
Members of the team plan to meet every week and visit related gaming companies, including Wemade Co. and Netmarble Corp., to request information on Kim’s alleged trading of P2E, or play-to-earn, coins issued by such companies.
The lawmaker also said the task force could consider taking legal action against Kim for violating laws such as the Public Officials Ethics Act and the Political Funds Act, once more information is gathered through the investigation.
Kim has been claiming his innocence, saying he will fight against numerous news reports that he claims were based on false information.
Meanwhile, Wemade, the operator of the cryptocurrency Wemix, denied allegations that it has been involved with Kim’s crypto dealings and vowed to take legal action against fake news.
“News reports that Wemade has illegally given Wemix to the lawmaker or given him inside information are not true,” Chang Hyun-guk, CEO of Wemade, said in a statement. “We will strictly deal with the production and dissemination of fake news, and take all civil and criminal measures against them.”