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Defense ministry to look into 21 officials over suspected real estate speculation

Ministry of National Defense (Yonhap)
Ministry of National Defense (Yonhap)
The defense ministry said Monday it will look into 21 officials over suspected real estate speculation amid public fury in the wake of massive speculation cases involving employees of the state land developing firm.

The ministry has been looking into thousands of employees since late March after some of its officials were suspected of exploiting undisclosed information related to the relocation or development plans of military bases for their personal real estate transactions.

After looking into 3,695 officials who had access to such development-related information, the ministry said it has sorted out 21 people who will be subject to further investigation. The ministry said it is also probing another nine people who belatedly agreed to cooperate with the audit.

"We looked into the connection between their jobs and their real estate transactions, as well as how far the properties were located from the sites under investigation, whether they were land or buildings and how the officials acquired them," ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan said during a regular press briefing.

The ministry audit began following a massive land speculation scandal centered on the state housing developer, Korea Land and Housing Corp. (LH), that rocked the nation due to the apparent injustice of public officials using insider information for personal gain at a time when ordinary citizens are struggling to cope with skyrocketing home prices nationwide.

The government formed a separate task force led by the police and has been looking into public officials on suspicions of property speculation since the scandal broke in early March. (Yonhap)
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