Parties demand parliamentary probe into ex-ruling party lawmaker’s property speculation

SEOUL, Two conservative parties on Wednesday demanded a parliamentary probe into allegations of real estate speculation by Rep. Sohn Hye-won, a former ruling party lawmaker.

The demand came one day after the prosecution indicted Rep. Sohn without physical detention for allegedly buying properties under a borrowed name by using inside information she had collected during parliamentary activity.

Sohn faced allegations that she, along with relatives and aides, made speculative real estate purchases in Mokpo, 410 kilometers southwest of Seoul, before the properties were designated as a cultural heritage district. After the designation, land prices in the area sharply rose.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BP) called for a parliamentary probe into Sohn. They claimed the ruling Democratic Party (DP) has prevented parliamentary efforts to uncover the truth of the case.

"The truth of Sohn's allegations should be revealed through a parliamentary probe," LKP floor leader Na Kyung-won said. "It is mind-boggling that a lawmaker purchased properties by using classified information."

Sohn, who quit the DP in January, said Tuesday she cannot accept the prosecution's probe, adding the truth will be revealed in court.

"There is no change in my stance that I will donate all of my assets if a trial concludes I made property investments in Mokpo under a borrowed name," she said on her Facebook account.

Sohn previously said she would give up her parliamentary seat if the prosecution's probe reveals real estate speculation.

The minor BP denounced her shift in stance.

"Separately from the prosecution's investigation, there should be a parliamentary probe into her case," BP floor leader Oh Shin-hwan said.

The ruling DP did not comment on Sohn's case.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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