The head of the nation's financial watchdog resigned just two weeks after taking office earlier this week. Financial Supervisory Service chief Kim Ki-sik was determined by the election watchdog to have breached a law on political contributions.
He has become the shortest-serving governor in the 19-year history of the FSS. His resignation will also deal a blow to the financial reform drive pushed by the Moon Jae-in administration.
Kim offered to resign on Monday after the election watchdog concluded that his past behavior and donations violated the law.
Following a four-hour meeting on Monday, the National Election Commission (NEC) determined that a 50 million won donation Kim made using political contributions in 2016 exceeded an acceptable level.
The donation was made to an association of Democratic Party lawmakers called "A Better Future," which Kim was a part of. He was nearing the end of his four-year-term, and the donation was apparently to use up his remaining political funds.
President Moon Jae-in accepted his resignation on Tuesday. Moon said last week that he would dismiss Kim if there was an objective finding that showed any one of his activities during his lawmaker years was illegal.
The top office had also asked the election watchdog to judge the legality of Kim's past deeds.
Kim's integrity has been under scrutiny ever since his appointment as FSS chief.
He faced strong pressure from the opposition to step down after it was revealed that as a lawmaker, he went on overseas business trips sponsored by financial organizations that were subject to oversight by a National Assembly committee that he was a member of.
Regarding the trips, the election watchdog said that although such sponsored trips may have been "customary" among lawmakers at the time, they could be in violation of the Political Funds Act, depending on the details of each occasion such as the nature and purpose of the trip.
The Financial Supervisory Service is nicknamed the "financial prosecutor" and morality is a most important quality required by its chief.
As a former civic activist, Kim was anticipated to be a good fit to lead the organization.
The top office now shoulders the burden of electing a new head for the FSS.
The latest incident has somewhat weakened President Moon’s grip over state affairs while the opposition has strengthened its voice.
It may also have repercussions on the issue of revising the Constitution and nationwide local elections scheduled for June.