Controversy is growing over the fact that Kim Haeng, a candidate for Minister of Gender Equality and Family, passed on shares of an Internet media company owned by his spouse to his sister-in-law when he was appointed as the Blue House spokesperson.
Even within the ruling party, it was pointed out that the purpose of ‘blank trust’ was ignored and the law was violated.
Candidate Kim and his wife own stocks of this company again.
Reporter Park Sol-nip covered the story.
◀ Report ▶
In 2013, around the time Kim Haeng, candidate for Minister of Gender Equality and Family, was appointed as the Blue House spokesperson, the stocks he owned in Social News, the operator of the Internet media outlet Wikitree, became subject to a blind trust.
It must be disposed of in accordance with the Public Official Ethics Act.
[김 행/여성가족부 장관 후보자 (지난 15일)]
″I owned about half of (Social News) shares. However, an order was issued to place it in a blind trust. So I put everything into a blind trust and sold it.”
However, it was confirmed that Candidate Kim’s husband also owned shares in the company, and that these shares were passed on to his family member, sister-in-law.
[김 행/여성가족부 장관 후보자(오늘)]
″(The company) was in the red… I just can’t sell it. So my sister-in-law said, “My sister-in-law went to public office, and the government told her to give her a blank trust like that, and she will also take care of the country.”
Now, candidate Kim Haeng and his wife have bought back ‘Social News’ stocks, and their current value is estimated at around 10 billion won.
Issues were also raised within the ruling party.
They say he may have made a “trick deal” by leaving his shares to his family only while he was in public office.
People Power Party lawmaker Kim Woong claimed on social media that “99.9% of the company’s stock was “temporarily entrusted,” and that it is clearly a controlled transaction and subject to investigation for violation of the Public Official Ethics Act.”
In response to this, Candidate Kim explained, “It does not violate the law because my sister-in-law is not a direct ascendant or descendant and is therefore not a stakeholder.”
In addition, it was confirmed that Candidate Kim had received a significant salary even during a time when he had no connection to social news until 2019.
In 2018 alone, the salary received from ‘Social News’ was 75 million won.
Candidate Kim revealed that he received assistance as a courtesy when receiving training in places such as the UK and Costa Rica for three years starting in 2016.
In addition, suspicions were raised that right after Candidate Kim became the Blue House spokesperson, Wikitree’s government advertising orders increased nearly six-fold, from 5 in 2012 to 30 in 2013.
This is Park Sol-ip from MBC News.
Video coverage: Nam Hyun-taek, Han Jae-hoon / Video editing: Kim Gwan-sun