Public opinion calling for Kim Ki-sik, chairman of the Financial Supervisory Service to step down is growing louder. Kim is at the center of controversy for allegedly enjoying overseas business trips costing tens of millions of won paid by institutions under his supervision. The Liberty Korea Party raised additional allegations against Kim and all four opposition parties including the Justice Party are calling for Kim to step down.
However, on April 12, Cheong Wa Dae consulted the National Election Commission on its interpretation of Kim's actions to determine whether they were legitimate and maintained its position against Kim's resignation. This is fueling political conflicts concerning the future status of Kim.
Liberty Korea Party floor leader Kim Sung-tae held a press conference this day and said, "Kim's explanation that he donated 50 million won of his (remaining) political funds to A Better Future (at the end of his term in parliament) after hearing that it would not be a problem from the election commission is a downright lie."
He further said, "On March 25, 2016, Kim asked the commission, 'Is there a limit to the amount I can temporarily donate to A Better Future?' and the commission responded, 'It does not matter if you give political funds within the amount of previous donations, but providing funds in the name of a special membership fee is a violation of Article 113 of the Public Official Election Act.'" Kim Ki-sik's representative explained, "Basically, the election commission's answer means that additional donations can be made according to the regulations of the organization or corporation."
It was also disclosed that a university professor who had received 10 million won for a policy research project from Kim, when Kim served as a lawmaker, later donated 5 million won to the Korea Institute for the Future.
Choi Suk, spokesperson for the Justice Party said, "Eradicating long-established irregular practices in the financial sector is an important task that is only possible when the person carrying out the work is able and qualified to do the job," and added Kim to their "death note." Since the launch of the Moon Jae-in government, all senior public officials whom the Justice Party opposed have failed to retain their position. According to the survey results released by Realmeter this day, 50.5% of the respondents said that Kim should step down, while 33.4% opposed his resignation.
Skepticism was voiced from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea as well. One senior lawmaker said, "It will only get tougher the longer he resists." The People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, which is practically home to Kim, also said, "It was an inappropriate act that should be criticized, and we are very disappointed for it was carried out by a man who had stressed ethics in public office and called for institutional improvements more fiercely than anyone else." However, the organization refrained from expressing their position on Kim's resignation.
Cheong Wa Dae asked the National Election Commission to review the legitimacy of Kim's actions. This means that Cheong Wa Dae will fight the controversy head on, which could leave Cheong Wa Dae isolated and surrounded by opposition on all sides.
The Supreme Prosecutors' Office assigned Kim's case to Criminal Department 6 of the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors' Office.