[EDITORIALS]Beyond beliefThe controversy surrounding real estate dealings by Roh Gun-gyeong, the elder brother of President Roh Moo-hyun, grows more confusing day by day. Roh Gun-pyeong’s explanation, “Buying pieces of land here and there for farming made things complicated,” as he said, only gives fuel to suspicions. Explanations bring more suspicion because the reasons given are not acceptable to people with common sense. Mr. Roh seems to be making up excuses according to the situation instead of telling the truth.
Most suspicious of all, people involved in the dealings were close to President Roh and the money from selling them went to Jangsucheon, a spring water company, and a local autonomy research institute, both operated by President Roh. Like the opposition party, we wonder whether the suspicions are growing bigger, despite explanations, because the owner of the foundation and the company is President Roh. Moreover, when a wealthy supporter invests billions of won without taking out any profits, it leads to suspicions that the company and the real estate deals were political-funds laundering.
President Roh said on television last year, “I bought a piece of land in my hometown, Jinyeong, with the money I made by selling an automobile sales company in 1989.” But his name does not appear on the real estate registration papers. Although the Seoul District Court ruled in 1992 that part of the land in Jinyeong belonged to President Roh, the land was registered in his driver’s name. The driver, who has no independent source of wealth, was once registered as the owner of Jangsucheon and as the owner of 11 housing plots in a 12-plot tract in Gimhae. The driver’s wife supposedly lent 600 million won ($500,000) to President Roh’s brother-in-law. Society’s woes would all be solved if all drivers had that much money to invest.
Although suspicions are directed at President Roh, the Blue House complained that the charges are motivated by political rivalries and a biased media. In order to save its reputation, the Blue House must explain what has to be explained and apologize for what the people find wrong.