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Prosecution seeks arrest warrants for 2 key lobbyists in Optimus fund scandal

All News 13:46 November 05, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -- The prosecution has sought arrest warrants for two lobbyists in connection with its investigation into a financial fraud scheme at a private equity investment company.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office on Wednesday requested the court to grant the warrants against two lobbyists, only identified by their last names, Kim and Ki, on charges of violating the Attorney-at-Law Act and commercial law and bribery.

The investigators suspect Ki illegally lobbied government officials and played an important role in running the fraudulent financial scheme of Optimus Asset Management.

Kim is suspected of introducing Optimus CEO Kim Jae-hyun to a former official at the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) and delivering 20 million won (US$17,700) to the official in a bribe in an effort to conceal its deceitful business scheme.

The Optimus scandal centers on allegations that the private equity company solicited funds worth about 1.2 trillion won from thousands of people for investments in public institutions but actually funneled most of the money into risky assets, causing huge losses to the investors.

As part of its investigation, the prosecution also indicted a 51-year-old executive at the cosmetics company Skin N Skin Co. on charges of embezzlement and using false documentation. The investigators suspect that the company was used to cover up the massive losses at Optimus.

In recent weeks, the 19-strong team has intensified its investigation into the scandal. It has been looking into allegations that Optimus CEO Kim had stashed away around 20 billion won (US$17.7 million) in a real estate development company. The former FSS official was called in last week as a suspect for questioning.

The file photo, taken Oct. 13, 2020, shows the closed entrance of Optimus Asset Management in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)


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