South Korea’s opposition bloc question Moon administration’s anti-corruption drive, over lobbying controversy

SEOUL, April 10 (UPI) — South Korea’s opposition lawmakers called for the removal of the new Financial Supervisory Service(FSS) chief endorsed by the Moon administration, over controversy that he took various overseas trips funded by financial institutions when he was a legislator.

On Tuesday, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party(LKP) and minor centrist Bareunmirae Party on Tuesday each filed a complaint against Kim Ki-sik with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, E Daily reported.

The parties accused him of bribery, abuse of power as well as breaching the Public Service Ethics Act.

Kim has been under fire for taking an all-expenses-paid trip to China and India in 2015, paid for by Woori Financial Holdings, which was subject to the oversight of his parliamentary committee.

The LKP pointed out that Kim had even criticized Woori’s management, before embarking on the four-day trip.

He is also believed to have taken a trip to the U.S. and Europe, funded by the state-run Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, which was also under his parliamentary committee’s watch.

He took a female intern with him, who allegedly received preferential treatment after the trip.

Kim apologized over the controversy, but denied he had given his intern preferential treatment, while the presidential office insisted that his trips were for “official business” and “legitimate” purposes, refusing to consider removing him from his post.

This sparked criticism from the opposition bloc, which pointed out the Moon Jae-in administration has been punishing former officials from past governments in its so-called drive to “root out long-standing corruption in state agencies,” but has not taken measures against Kim.

The centrist Bareunmirae Party said there should be a parliamentary probe into why Kim was appointed by the top office as well as the reason that it is defending him.

The minor liberal Party for Democracy and Peace also criticized the FSS chief, saying that if his overseas trips were customary, the issue must be regarded as a form of long-standing corruption, Yonhap reported.

The ruling Democratic Party backed the presidential office’s stance, claiming that the opposition bloc’s accusations are over-the-top and their calls for the FSS chief’s resignation are a political offensive ahead of the June local elections.