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Blue House spokesman offers to resign over real estate controversy

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom on Friday expressed his intention to resign, following controversy over alleged real estate speculation.

In a message sent out to the Cheong Wa Dae press corps, Kim said that he was leaving his post, and apologized for the controversy, and his shortcomings while serving as the presidential spokesperson.

“It was a decision my wife made without consulting me. It was already too late when I found out,” Kim said, saying that that he was not aware of the developments and therefore could not foresee the controversy.

“This is my fault. My wife was sick of her husband’s laziness and incapability in buying a home and (his) indecisiveness that repeated at good opportunities.”

Kim came under fire this week following revelations that his family had purchased a 2.5 billion won ($2.2 million) property in an area marked for redevelopment in southern Seoul.

Kim had at first refuted accusations that the purchase was real estate speculation, saying that he had purchased the property to secure housing for his family after living in rented accommodation for most of his life.

While Kim is reported to have taken out a 1 billion won loan to make the purchase, the value of the property has reportedly increased significantly more than the loan on the property. Such developments have fed allegations that the purchase was designed to turn a profit, at a time when the administration was rolling out series of measures to curb real estate prices.

In the message, Kim also apologized for his failings as a spokesperson but urged journalists to practice caution in handing issues related to North Korea, and the Moon Jae-in administration’s drive to establish peace on the peninsula.

By Choi He-suk (