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Opposition pressing for special probe into lawmaker's alleged property speculation

Politics 14:25 January 21, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- Opposition parties on Monday raised the need to conduct a parliamentary probe and the special counsel's investigations into a ruling party lawmaker embroiled in allegations of real estate speculation.

Rep. Sohn Hye-won has come under fire over allegations that she mobilized her relatives and aides to buy properties in an old district of Mokpo, 410 kilometers southwest of Seoul, before authorities designated it as a cultural asset site. She quit the ruling Democratic Party (DP) Sunday.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BP) called Sohn's case high-profile corruption, pressing the need for parliamentary investigations and a special investigators' probe.

"We will file a complaint with the prosecution against Sohn after completing a legal review on the case and also push for a special counsel probe," LKP floor leader Na Kyung-won said at a meeting with party officials.

BP chairman Sohn Hak-kyu raised the suspicion that the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae may have been aware of the ex-DP lawmaker's case, citing her close relationship with the first lady Kim Jung-sook.

Opposition pressing for special probe into lawmaker's alleged property speculation - 1

Sohn is alleged to have used inside information she obtained while serving on the parliamentary culture committee and to have provided money to her relatives for the purchases.

She has flatly denied the allegations, claiming that she encouraged her aides to buy properties as an act of goodwill to revive the city.

Sohn told reporters Sunday that she will fight to the end to prove her innocence and she will give up her parliamentary seat if the prosecution probe finds out the allegation is true.

The ruling party remains low key as it sees opposition parties' political offensive as excessive.

The DP's leadership decided last week not to take any actions against Sohn on the judgment that she had not intended to make speculative investment.

The decision has drawn negative public sentiment and opposition parties' criticism.

"As she has left the party, we are limited in officially supporting her," a DP official said.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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