The Seoul Metropolitan Government began to take countermeasures against the sale of the International Financial Center (IFC) in Yeouido, Seoul, which is surrounded by controversy over the strong possibility that the AIG Group will “take the money and run.”
According to Seoul City, recently, the city asked a law firm for legal advice on the sale of the IFC. ”The IFC building belongs to AIG Development. So, Seoul City does not have any rights to talk about the sale of the building,” said a representative at the Office of Economy Promotion of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “But its land belongs to Seoul City. Thus, we are legally reviewing whether or not Seoul City has some parts to discuss with AIG in order to look for a buyer who will be able to use the building for its original purpose as a Northeast Asian financial hub.”
The legal consulting service that Seoul City asked the law firm for includes some content about whether or not the National Pension Corp. is able to purchase the edifice. Recently, the National Pension Corp. expressed interest in making investment in the building.
“In the case of AIG Development, the Foreign Investment Promotion Act gave the company some benefits regarding land lease fees, among others,” a Seoul City official said. “In the event that domestic capital invests in the building, a legal problem can arise. Therefore, we are comprehensively carrying out legal reviews of such events.”
As Seoul City began to respond in connection with the possible sell-off of the building through which AIG Development will be able to make easy money, people are paying attention to what if any measures will actually be taken.
In regards to this, experts say that Seoul City will not be able to play a major role in the case. This is because when Lee Myung-bak was the mayor of Seoul in 2005, the Seoul Metropolitan Government signed a contract about the building with the AIG Group. The contract is disadvantageous to the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The contract says that the AIG Group will be able to sell off the three office buildings and one shopping mall of the IFC beginning on Jan. 1, 2016. But the contract does not have any obligation about attracting foreign financial institutions to the building.