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SEOUL — Off-base realtors are not allowed to use uncertified brokers in their businesses, local officials clarified Thursday.

Late last week, an official with the Land Register Division of Yongsan District Office told Stars and Stripes that it was not illegal for an uncertified broker to work a housing contract and allow a certified broker to later sign the final deal.

After the story was published on March 20, an organization consisting of realtors authorized to conduct business with the U.S. military community in Area II delivered a letter to the Yongsan District office complaining about the inaccurate information provided to Stripes.

“In your judgment, do you consider the example and content quoted in the above mentioned article legal?” the realtors asked the Yongsan office in the letter.

In a faxed response to the questions — which the realtors provided to Stripes — the Yongsan office confirmed the practice is illegal and violates the laws governing real estate transactions.

A Yongsan District official confirmed that the initial information his office provided was incorrect.

Area II officials said they cut the list of approved brokers from 60 to 21 on March 2 following allegations of bribery, kickbacks and fraud.

Under a new set of conditions, approved companies must have brokers who can speak English, hold a real estate certification, sign nondiscrimination and ethical practice declarations and complete other paperwork.

Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.

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