Chung Mong-joon richest lawmaker in Assembly

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Chung Mong-joon richest lawmaker in Assembly

Seven-term lawmaker Chung Mong-joon once again holds the record as the richest man among all 295 Korean lawmakers, with a fortune amounting to more than 2 trillion won, or about $1.87 billion, the National Assembly’s ethics committee announced yesterday.

Trailing just behind the Saenuri politician is first-term lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo, the co-chair of the newly formed New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), whose assets are reportedly worth 156.9 billion won.

Chung, the controlling shareholder of Hyundai Heavy Industries, with 7.7 million shares, acknowledged that he owns assets worth 2.04 trillion won as of last year - 118 billion won more than 2012, thanks to an increase in share values.

He is currently running for the Saenuri’s candidacy in the Seoul mayoral election in June in the hopes of toppling incumbent Democratic Mayor Park Won-soon.

Ahn, a former presidential hopeful, saw his assets shrink by 26.1 billion won over a yearlong period to 156.9 billion won, which was largely due to a decline in share values from cybersecurity software company AhnLab that he founded, for which he is a controlling shareholder with 2.36 million shares.

Among the 295 lawmakers whose assets were reported to the Assembly, eight of the top 10 lawmakers with the most assets are from the ruling Saenuri, while two are from the newly merged NPAD - Representative Ahn and Representative Jang Byung-wan, who reported his assets to be worth 8.2 billion won.

When excluding the lawmakers with more than 50 billion won in assets - Saenuri lawmakers Chung Mong-joon, Kim Se-yeon, Park Duk-hyum and NPAD Co-Chairman Ahn - the average property value held by the remaining 291 lawmakers stood at 1.8 billion won, the Assembly’s ethics office revealed.

Excluding representatives Chung, Kim and Park, the average amount of assets held by Saenuri lawmakers was 2.4 billion won.

Excluding Co-Chairman Ahn, NPAD lawmakers were found to own 1.2 billion won per member on average.

Among the 295 lawmakers, 190, or 64.5 percent, saw their property values rise over the past year, largely thanks to an increase in real estate and stock values, according to the ethics committee.

Of those 190 politicians, the assets of 68 parliamentarians increased between 100 million won and 500 million won, while another 10 lawmakers saw more than a 500 million won rise in their assets.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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