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Lawyer indicted for opening real estate agency

All News 16:07 July 19, 2016

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors said Tuesday they have indicted a lawyer for opening a realty agency without a license.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said Kong Sung-bae is indicted on charges of violating the Licensed Real Estate Agents Act, which reserves brokerage services exclusively for certified realtors.

In December, the 44-year-old launched a website and started advertising Trust Lifestyle, the first real estate agency run by lawyers in South Korea.

Under local law, any person who intends to run a brokerage business should first file a registration. Those who do not hold a real estate certificate are prohibited from opening a real estate office.

Trust Lifestyle immediately released a statement and said it did not violate any laws as the commission it receives is for legal activities, not for brokerage services.

Kong's agency set commission fees at the maximum of 990,000 won (US$871), much lower than the national average, as a way to attract customers.

In South Korea, consumers usually pay 0.5 percent on real estate transactions valued between 600 million won and 900 million won. If a customer purchases property valued at 900 million won or more, the broker can be paid more in the form of a special commission worth several millions of won.

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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