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GNP Suspicious of Roh`s Brother for Property Purchases

Posted May. 20, 2003 22:13,   


Rep. Kim Moo-soo of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) alleged on Tuesday that President Roh Moo-hyun`s elder brother, Roh Geon-pyong, obtained advance information on construction of a bridge linking Geoje Island to the mainland and bought land expecting a possible increase in land prices.

At a news conference on that day, the lawmaker said that Roh Geon-pyong bought 2,230 square meters of land on Geoje Island, South Gyeongsang Province, 18 months before the government decided to build the bridge and asked the President’s older brother to explain how he bought the land and whether the purchase was intended for real estate speculation.

Rep. Kim Moo-soo also eyed with suspicion the two construction companies owned by Roh Geon-pyong and said Geon-pyong’s wife is president of Gyeongjin Engineering and Construction and that Geon-pyong and his wife both work as supervisors at Jeongwon Engineering and Construction. However, according to this paper`s investigation, Gyeongjin Engineering and Construction was liquidated in May of last year.

In a telephone interview with the Yonhap News Agency, Roh Geon-pyong explained that he received the land near the bridge linking Geoje Island to the mainland from a public servant in Geoje City as compensation for a loss during a business transaction.

And President Roh`s elder brother also denied the story run by Shindonga, a monthly magazine, in its June issue that he built two villas within a national park in Geoje City by fabricating his address. He said that the land within the park was available for purchase regardless of where a purchaser lived. And he added that he bought the land to turn it into an orchard and that he planted citron trees there. But later he sold the land to a person only identified by the surname Park, who he had been known for a long time because of increasing debts.

However, Rep. Kim Moon-soo alleged that some of the land within the park was transferred to his brother-in-law in May 2000 and then sold to Park in April 2002. The lawmaker asked for the prosecution`s investigation, saying that Roh Geon-pyong transferred the land to his brother-in-law to avoid his obligation to pay back another person’s debt in 2000.

Jong-Hoon Lee taylor55@donga.com