President Moon appoints Hong Jong-haak as new venture minister
Updated: 2017-11-21 15:03:57 KST
Hong Jong-haak, the 58-year-old economist and former Democratic Party lawmaker, becomes the first chief of the newly created Ministry of SMEs and Startups.
He served as a policy adviser for President Moon Jae-in during his election campaign earlier this year.
Similar to anti-trust watchdog chief Kim Sang-jo, Hong is known as a longtime shareholder activist and worked to establish fair business practices among the country's family-controlled conglomerates, known as chaebols, to level the playing field of smaller businesses, hence his nickname, the "chaebol sniper."
During his time as a lawmaker, Hong proposed bills to shorten patent duration by chaebols from ten years to five years and criticized their family succession of management control as well as their convoluted ownership structure.
President Moon's appointment of Hong comes despite fierce criticism from opposition parties at the National Assembly which had already threatened not to cooperate in passing next year's budget bill.
The parliamentary committee on industry and trade affairs failed to adopt a report on Hong's confirmation hearing, due to opposition parties' objections, that argue he allegedly evaded paying taxes when he inherited real estate assets worth some three-million U.S. dollars from his mother-in-law.
The same allegation of tax evasion was placed on his wife and daughter as well.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.