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41 Pct. of Lawmakers Suffered Drop in Net Worth

Posted March. 28, 2009 08:34,   


Forty-one percent of high-ranking public servants last year saw their net assets fall due to the drop in stock and fund values.

The government ethics committee said yesterday that 721 of 1,782 high-ranking officials including those grade one or above, the heads and lawmakers of provincial and municipal governments, school superintendents and members of boards of education suffered a decrease in their asset values.

Last year, only 21 percent of such officials saw their net worth drop.

The average wealth per official including his or her spouse and children rose 2.2 percent from 1.269 billion won (1.35 million U.S. dollars) at the end of 2007 to 1.297 billion won (1.02 million dollars) at the end of last year.

President Lee Myung-bak had the most assets among central government officials with 35.69 billion won (28.2 million dollars), or up 443.9 million won (351,822 dollars) from last year’s due to a higher government price assessment of his real estate.

Among lawmakers, 186 or 64 percent of 292 lawmakers required to report their assets saw an increase from last year, those of 105 lawmakers or 36 percent saw their assets fall in value, and one`s remained unchanged. Thirty-five percent or 103 lawmakers saw their assets increase more than 100 million won (79,239 dollars) and 21 percent or 62 lost more than 100 million won.

Wealthy lawmakers saw a decrease in their assets due to the economic recession, and the average wealth of all lawmakers (excluding Chung Mong-joon) decreased by 99.5 million won (78,843 dollars) to 2.58 billion won (2.04 million dollars).

Chung, Korea’s richest lawmaker with 1.64 trillion won (1.26 billion dollars), also saw his assets drop 54 percent in value because of the fall in Hyundai Heavy Industries stock prices. He is the largest stakeholder of the company.

ssoo@donga.com koh@donga.com