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Prosecutors re-seek arrest warrant for ex-lawmaker linked with development scandal

All News 19:02 January 25, 2022

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- An arrest warrant was again sought on Tuesday for a former opposition lawmaker on charges of accepting bribes and violating political funding laws in connection with a massive development corruption scandal.

After it was revealed his son received 5 billion won (US$4.2 million) in severance pay from Hwacheon Daeyu Asset Management, Kwak Sang-do quit the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) and ultimately gave up his parliamentary seat. Prosecutors suspect the money was a bribe to Kwak.

The previously unheard-of asset management company has been under investigation over its astronomical profits from a lucrative apartment development project in the Daejang-dong district of Seongnam City, south of Seoul.

The prosecution again sought a warrant for Kwak on additional charges of receiving illegal political funds after a court denied an arrest warrant request for him last month. At that time, the court cited insufficient grounds for his arrest.

In this file photo, Rep. Kwak Sang-do, an independent lawmaker, holds a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on Oct. 2, 2021, to announce his decision to resign from his parliamentary seat amid mounting suspicions over his son receiving unreasonably huge severance pay from a firm at the center of a massive land development scandal. (Yonhap)

Investigators suspect Kwak offered business favors to Hwacheon Daeyu in the past while serving as Cheong Wa Dae's senior secretary for civil affairs and a member of the National Assembly's culture committee. The money was given to the lawmaker's son, who previously worked at the company for about seven years, as severance pay.

Kwak has denied all allegations against him.

Kim Man-bae, owner of Hwacheon Daeyu, has been indicted on charges in connection with the 2015 development project.

The scandal has received intense media coverage amid questions about its potential impact on this year's presidential election.

The PPP has claimed Lee Jae-myung, the ruling party's presidential candidate who served as Seongnam mayor in 2015, was behind the whole scheme.


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