Blue House spokesman offers to resign

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Blue House spokesman offers to resign

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Kim Eui-kyeom

Kim Eui-kyeom, the presidential spokesman, offered to resign Friday following accusations of real estate speculation.

Kim purchased a building in Heukseok-dong in Dongjak District, a lucrative urban redevelopment zone in southern Seoul, for 2.57 billion won ($2.26 million won) last July.

“It is such a lame excuse so I wasn’t trying to make it, but since I am leaving I want to air things out,” he said in a statement in a text message on his resignation to Blue House reporters. “I didn’t know.”

He added, “My wife made the decision without consulting me. When I was aware, it was too late to reverse things. This too is my fault.”

Kim purchased the property last July. On Aug. 27 last year, the government designated Dongjak District of Seoul as an antispeculation zone in which buyers of property are only allowed one mortgage.

To purchase the building, Kim borrowed over 1.02 billion won from Kookmin Bank. He borrowed another 360 million won from individuals. In total, he took out over 1.6 billion won in loans to purchase the building.

There is a high likelihood that President Moon Jae-in will tender Kim’s resignation, as his administration has been keen on enforcing strong antispeculation measures.

Since June 2017, the Moon administration announced a series of tough restrictions to cool down the real estate market and crack down on speculators.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.kr]

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