[EDITORIALS]Special deals in Bundang

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[EDITORIALS]Special deals in Bundang

Kim Eun-seong, the former head of domestic affairs for the National Intelligence Service, said in his petition to the court that 130 influential figures improperly received rights to purchase units in the Parkview, a building in Bundang constructed for both residential and commercial use. The assertion sounds more plausible now with the confirmation that the wife of Kim Ok-doo, a ruling party lawmaker, gave up her rights for unclear reasons.

The Parkview is the biggest building since Bundang was developed as a satellite city 10 years ago. A medium sized company bought the land and changed its purpose to build the Parkview. In March 2001, more than 100,000 people applied for 1,300 units that were set aside for private contracts. Rumors spread then that many influential figures received the private contracts for helping the developer buy the land and for changing the purpose from commercial use to both commercial and residential use. Several civic groups in Seongnam City, have said, "The president's close relatives, the ruling camp's 'Mr. K,' prominent figures in the judiciary and high-ranking government officials received special deals."

Mr. Kim's wife explained, "Following the advertisement for the Parkview, I applied for the private contracts and got one. But I gave it up because I didn't have enough money to finish the installments of the full payment." But with the deposit of 30 million won ($23,000) those who got the rights could sell them for immediate profits of 10 to 20 million won. Mr. Kim also strongly denied his wrongdoing by saying, "I didn't give it up because of a call from the National Intelligence Service. I don't know the developer." Since Mr. Kim turned out to have given up his rights, we cannot trust the developer's explanation that there has been no one who gave up his rights, let alone 130 people.

The prosecution should find out the identities of the 130 people. Where did they get money to buy the rights? Did they sell the rights for a big price difference? As the prosecution constructs that list of 130 people, it will then be revealed whose influence was bought to change the purpose of the land.
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