12 DP lawmakers suspected of engaging in illegal real estate dealings: anti-corruption agency

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) — The state anti-corruption watchdog said Monday it has identified 12 ruling party lawmakers suspected of having engaged in illegal real estate dealings, following a party-wide probe conducted in the wake of a public sector land speculation scandal in March.

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission announced that it identified 16 alleged speculation cases linked to 12 members of the Democratic Party (DP) and that it has relayed the information to a separate police-led special government investigation team looking into the widening scandal.

The watchdog body has reviewed land-related transactions made by all 174 DP lawmakers and their families for the past seven years. The probe was commissioned by the party itself after the explosive land speculation scandal involving employees at the state-run Korea Land and Housing Corp. infuriated the public.

Of the 16 cases found, two were allegedly linked to the current government’s massive development project near Seoul and three were suspected of having used undisclosed insider information.

Last week, the special government probe team announced that it has arrested 20 people and reported over 529 others to the prosecution for further investigation after looking into various allegations of real estate speculation for about three months.

The LH scandal and the government’s failure to curb runaway housing prices have been blamed for the DP’s crushing defeat in the April 7 Seoul and Busan mayoral by-elections. The DP and the government are currently exploring ways to revise housing policy.

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