Roh’s brother queried over land case

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Roh’s brother queried over land case

Prosecutors said yesterday they are investigating the elder brother of former President Roh Moo-hyun on suspicion he peddled influence to win a license for a land development project in 2007.

Roh Geon-pyeong, 70, is suspected of helping a land developer gain permission to reclaim 179,000 square meters (44 acres) of land in the southern port city of Tongyeong, possibly in return for money, according to the prosecutors’ office in Changwon, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Seoul.

The prosecutors’ move comes two days after a broker surnamed Lee was charged with colluding with Roh to transfer shares in an affiliate of the land developer to two people who apparently helped to obtain the license.

Prosecutors said they secured testimony that Roh instructed Lee in March 2007 to award 40 percent of shares in the affiliate to the two men, one of whom is a relative of Roh.

Lee and the head of the land developer, surnamed Kim, subsequently transferred their shares in the affiliate to the two men and received the permit from what is now the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs in August of the same year.

Prosecutors said they also have testimony that Roh joined Lee and Kim on their visits to the mayor of Tongyeong to lobby the local government, which had already requested the ministry allow land reclamation projects to build shipyards and other industrial sites in the city.

Prosecutors said they suspect that the relative of Roh later sold a portion of the shares he received for 940 million won ($834,443) and delivered the money to Roh. Roh served a prison term for peddling influence in a 2006 corporate takeover deal when his brother was in office as president. He was released in August 2010 under a presidential pardon. Yonhap

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