President Moon declares 7.2 pct rise in personal assets last year

SEOUL, President Moon Jaein saw his personal wealth grow 7.2 percent last year, the government gazette showed Thursday, due largely to an increase in his savings apparently resulting from a cut in his personal spending.

In his annual report, the president declared 2.02 billion won (US$1.8 million) in personal assets as of the end of 2018, up 136 million won from the previous year.

Under anticorruption law, senior officials at government agencies and national universities, as well as other highlevel public office holders, are required to report the status of their assets to the Government Ethics Committee.

The amount declared by each government official includes assets owned by their spouses and immediate family members, such as parents and siblings.

In 2018, Moon's bank deposits gained 160 million won from a year earlier, pushing up the overall value of his assets, including real estate and intellectual property, by 136 million won.

The president said the rise in his savings was simply caused by a change in his expenditure, according to the gazette.

It showed the average assets of 47 ranking officials at the presidential office, including Moon, came to 1.49 billion won last year.

Of them, Ju Hyeon, a secretary handling affairs of smaller firms and venture companies, reported the largest amount 14.8 billion won in personal assets.

Cho Kuk, Moon's top secretary for civil affairs, ranked second with 5.5 billion won in assets, followed by Yoon Jongwon, senior secretary for economic affairs, with 2.5 billion won.

A total of 1,873 senior government and public officials declared an average 1.21 billion won in assets as of the end of 2018, up 59 million won from a year earlier, the data showed.

According to the asset disclosure, about 72 percent, or 1,348, saw the value of their assets rise over the past year, while 28 percent reported a fall in assets.

Meanwhile, about eight out 10 lawmakers reported increases in their personal assets, according to separate data on asset declaration by members of the National Assembly.

Of 289 lawmakers, 79.3 percent said they saw their assets rise in 2018.

Rep. Kim Byounggwan of the ruling Democratic Party topped the list of rich lawmakers with 276.3 billion won. He previously headed Webzen, a local game developer.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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