Actor Cha In-pyo denied being aware that the apartment he purchased recently had been owned by a relative of Justice Minister Cho Kuk. The ex-justice minister’s cousin once removed has been indicted on embezzlement charges, and the wife of that cousin sold the apartment to Cha through a real estate agent.
On Wednesday, Cha released a statement on social media saying he and his spouse -- actress Shin Ae-ra -- had bought the apartment because they intended to live there and had been unaware of the identity of the previous owner.
Actor Cha In-pyo (Yonhap)
“My wife and children returned home from nearly five years of living abroad,” Cha said in his statement. “(We discovered the apartment while) we were looking for a place for our family in Gyeonggi Province that is close to the girls’ schools,” he explained.
Cha noted that the apartment had been listed for sale on one of the biggest local web portals. He closed the deal legitimately via a local real estate agent, Cha added.
The actor said he only realized the apartment had been in the name of the wife of Cho’s cousin -- identified only by her surname, Lee -- when a reporter contacted him Tuesday to ask about the matter.
Cha said he was shocked by the news and stressed he would not have proceeded with the purchase if anyone had told him.
He apologized to those who had been hurt over the incident, and said he would consult with his wife to decide whether they could live in the apartment.
By Choi Ji-won (email@example.com)