The ruling People Power Party 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 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. The PPP’s special task force, set to launch Tuesday, will be comprised of around 10 members, including PPP lawmakers and outside experts with special knowledge on digital assets. Rep. Kim Sung-won and Rep. Yun Chang-hyeon, who also heads the special committee on digital assets, will lead the investigation team, the lawmaker said. Such a move reflects the PPP’s willingness to take the matter into their own hands following Kim’s departure. The PPP argues the DP’s probe against Kim will be insufficient, as it has no authority to conduct an investigation into an independent lawmaker.
Kim has been claiming his innocence, saying he will fight against numerous news reports that he claims were based on false information. In a separate move, the task force will also look into seeing whether there were any lobbying against lawmakers from the gaming industry regarding P2E, or play-to-earn, coins.