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(LEAD) Moon orders thorough probe into Seongnam land development scandal

All News 15:22 October 12, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 2, 4-9)

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday ordered a thorough probe into a snowballing corruption scandal involving a close aide to the ruling Democratic Party's presidential nominee.

Cheong Wa Dae spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee told reporters Moon instructed the prosecution and the police to "actively cooperate and do their utmost to uncover the factual truth through a swift and thorough investigation."

This photo shows President Moon Jae-in speaking at a Cabinet meeting at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Oct. 12, 2021. (Yonhap)

This is the first time Moon has commented on the scandal that centers on allegations that the aide to Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung was involved in allowing a little known asset management firm to make massive profits from a land development project in Seongnam, south of Seoul, when Lee was mayor of the city.

Last week, Cheong Wa Dae said it was following the revelations "sternly" but declined to elaborate.

A Cheong Wa Dae official said Moon gave the order Tuesday morning and suggested the president "decided it was time to speak."

Moon had wanted the prosecution and police to look into the scandal but refrained from voicing his position out of concern he may influence the results of the Democratic Party's primary, several presidential officials said on condition of anonymity.

Lee won the Democratic Party's nomination Sunday after securing the majority of votes needed to avoid a runoff.

He has denied any connection to the scandal.

The governor recently requested a meeting with Moon, and the two sides will discuss the subject, a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters.


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