&#91EDITORIALS&#93More transparency, please

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[EDITORIALS]More transparency, please

The opposition Grand National Party complained again that the elder brother of President Roh Moo-hyun, Roh Gun-pyeong, was a real estate speculator and had hidden records of property he owns. President Roh’s brother denied the charges and the Blue House responded that they were old news. But the issue may not die so quickly.
The GNP claimed that Mr. Roh bought 12 plots of land and built two houses inside a national seaside park as a speculative investment. It also claimed that he might have gotten some special favors in obtaining the building permit. But a bigger issue is that the land, in Mr. Roh’s name, had been pledged as collateral for a loan to a bottled water company. That collateral pledged by Mr. Roh was released in February, just before President Roh was inaugurated, and the reasons are still unknown.
The Financial Supervisory Service seems unwilling to release documents related to the transaction; the bottled water company is related to another spring water company involved in the Nara Merchant Bank scandal involving Ahn Hee-jung, a presidential aide.
All such suspicions are groundless, Mr. Roh says, and we understand that the Blue House cannot look into every transaction by every relative of the president. But this is no distant relative, it is Roh Moo-hyun’s elder brother and the charges are serious ones. It is not seemly for the Blue House to refuse to look into the matter because it happened before President Roh was inaugurated. Irregularities by relatives of well-connected persons have been all too common, and the people are sensitive about corrupt nepotism. The Blue House must cooperate in settling those concerns.
Presidetn Roh’s brother had already highlighted the necessity of giving special attention to presidential family members by saying that people had come to him with personal requests even before his brother’s inauguration. It is important for President Roh to build up a positive image during his early days in office by clearing up this matter. The Blue House and Mr. Roh must present more evidence that their hands are clean.
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