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Presidential Secretaries Under Fire for Suspicious Real Estate Deals

Presidential Secretaries Under Fire for Suspicious Real Estate Deals

Posted May. 08, 2008 08:27,   


Despite the public disclosure of personal assets of 34 presidential secretaries on Wednesday, controversy is building over alleged improper real-estate speculation.

Kim Jun-kyung, senior presidential secretary for financial policy, is facing allegations of real-estate speculation from the purchase of a plot of land in Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province. He is alleged to have purchased the plot in the name of his eldest daughter in 2005 and fabricated the documents. In the face of public criticism, Kim responded that “the total value of the land was about 13.4 million won and no law was violated, such as the falsification of resident registration.”

Park Young-jun, senior presidential secretary for policy planning, found himself suspected of engaging in illegal property transactions. He is alleged to have purchased a plot of land and house worth 730 million won in a redevelopment area in Seoul in May of last year. Park, who had no household ownership until the purchase, is said to have borrowed 300 million won from his brother.

Cheong Wa Dae said, “Although it was a refurbished dwelling that made the owner eligible to have tenants without a permit, he paid property taxes on the registered property. Moreover, the market price at the time the house was purchased was high, thus yielding no tangible profit from the transaction.”

Kang Hun, presidential secretary for legal policy, is alleged to have bank accounts in the names of his children in their 20s. It created a controversy when he paid inheritance tax only after criticism over tax arrears.

Vice spokesperson Kim Eun-hye topped the list of personal assets among Lee Myung-bak`s secretaries with a value of nearly 9 billion won. Her wealth was reportedly inherited from her father-in-law who died in 1990. Kim said, “I have a registration for the leasing service and have never failed to pay taxes each year.” Regarding suspicions over a bank account worth 11 million won in her infant son’s name, she explained that, “I saved money and deposited it for his education.”

In an effort to provide transparency over property transactions, Cheong Wa Dae instructed presidential secretaries to sell the land they acquired in regions that they did not live in, even if the acquisition procedures were legitimate, and to pay taxes such as inheritance tax on children.