President to take over deed to land bought by his son
Following media reports of President Lee Myung-bak’s purchase of a large plot under his son’s name for his retirement home, the Blue House said yesterday that the president would take over the deed to stop suspicions that he was sidestepping inheritance laws.
The 463-square-meter plot in Naegok-dong in Seoul’s Seocho District was purchased under the name of the president’s 33-year-old son, Lee Si-hyung, in May for 1.12 billion won ($962,000). A nearby 2,143-square-meter plot was also purchased for 4 billion won for security facilities.
After news broke of the purchases, the Blue House confirmed on Sunday that Lee would not be moving back to his Nonhyeon-dong residence after he leaves office, saying that land prices in the president’s old neighborhood were too expensive to build security facilities. Nonhyeon-dong is located in the center of Gangnam District, Seoul’s wealthiest area.
The Blue House said the president and the first lady did not use their names to purchase the Naegok-dong plot to prevent appreciation of surrounding land. Security concerns were another reason to withhold the president’s name from the deed, the Blue House said.
The opposition Democratic Party and liberal media outlets, however, questioned the integrity of the deal, raising suspicions that the purchase was a way to hand over wealth to the president’s son.
President Lee had long promised to donate all of his assets while only keeping his home in Nonhyeon-dong to use in his retirement.
Representative Kim Jae-yun of the Democratic Party said the purchase was a form of real estate speculation, contrasting it with the retirement home of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun in Bongha Village, South Gyeongsang.
“The land for Roh’s home was 250 million won, but Lee is now spending 4 billion won to purchase nearby land to build security facilities. He must completely rethink this,” Kim said.
Park Jeong-ha, presidential spokesman, said yesterday that the president had ordered his family to immediately transfer to him the deed of the plot from his son. The order was given before Lee left for the United States yesterday afternoon for a state visit.
The Blue House said that the president would take out a loan and use his Nonhyeon-dong residence as collateral to buy the Naegok-dong plot from his son.
“The price has not been decided yet because the president just made the order,” a Blue House official said. “But the land was originally purchased for 1.12 billion won, and his son spent about 34 million won in real estate tax and some more for interest payments.”
When Lee’s son purchased the land in May, he borrowed 600 million won by using his mother’s share in the Nonhyeon-dong residence. Lee’s relatives also loaned 520 million won to the president’s son.
The Blue House said the president had intended to take over the property from his son when he retired, but said there was no reason to delay the transfer because of the recent media reports.
“An official who has been in charge of the residences of former presidents handled the project,” said Blue House Chief of Staff Yim Tae-hee yesterday at the National Assembly. “Since it has been made public, we will resolve any questions to make sure there will not be any more controversy.”
By Ser Myo-ja [email@example.com]
한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
내곡동 사저, MB 명의로 바꿨지만…
꺼지지 않는 퇴임 후 사저 논란
이명박 대통령이 11일 퇴임 후 살 서울 내곡동 사저(私邸) 부지를 자신의 명의로 옮기기로 했다. 현재는 아들 시형(33)씨 소유로 돼 있다.
이 대통령은 이날 4박6일간의 미국 국빈방문을 위한 출국에 앞서 가족들에게 시형씨 앞으로 된 사저 부지(463㎡)를 즉시 매입하라고 지시했다고 박정하 청와대 대변인이 전했다. 청와대 관계자는 구입가와 관련, “당초 매매대금 11억2000만원에다 시형씨가 부담한 취득세·등록세 3400여만원, 그간의 이자비용 정도를 더한 금액이 되지 않겠느냐”고 예상했다. 청와대는 당초 이 대통령이나 부인 김윤옥 여사 명의로 부지를 구입할 경우 부동산 가격이 치솟고 사저 신축 과정에서 보안상 문제점이 발생할 수 있다고 판단해 시형씨가 사도록 한 뒤 사저 건축 허가가 나는 시점에 이 대통령이 되사는 방식을 염두에 뒀다고 밝혔다. 그러나 최근 이런 방식에 대해 편법 증여를 염두에 둔 게 아니냐는 의혹이 제기된 데다 명의신탁에 의한 부동산실명제법 위반이라는 비판이 제기되자 구입 시점을 앞당긴 것이다.
민주당 유선호 의원은 국회 대정부 질문에서 “대통령 자신이 실제 소유할 부동산을 아들 명의로 사들인 것은 부동산실명제 위반”이라 고 지적했다. 그러나 김황식 국무총리는 ＂명의를 차용해 등기하면 실명제법 위반이지만 아들 이름으로 취득하고, 건축하는 과정에서 토지소유권도 대통령 앞으로 이전하는 것이라 실명제법과는 관계없다”고 설명했다.
민주당은 이시형씨가 부담해야 할 사저 구입비 일부를 대통령실이 정부 예산으로 지원했다는 의혹도 제기했다. 민주당 이용섭 대변인은 기자회견을 열고 “이씨가 매입한 토지와 건물의 공시지가는 12억8697만원인데 실매입가액은 11억2000만원으로 공시지가보다 1억6697만원을 싸게 구입했다”며 “반면 대통령실은 42억8000만원을 들여 공시지가(10억9385만원)보다 4배 이상 비싸게 토지를 매입해 대통령 아들이 부담해야 할 구입비용 일부를 (대신) 부담해 준 것”이라고 주장했다.