Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(3rd LD) Opposition leader proposes special counsel probe into Seongnam development scandal

All News 11:44 October 21, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS ruling party's response in 7th para)
By Kim Na-young

SEOUL, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) -- Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung called Friday for an independent counsel investigation into a corruption scandal that led to an arrest warrant request for one of his closest aides, claiming his innocence as a prosecution probe closes in on him.

Lee of the main opposition Democratic Party made the remark after prosecutors sought the warrant for Kim Yong, a longtime confidant of Lee, for allegedly receiving 847 million won (US$593,552) in illegal political funds from real estate developers involved in a corruption-laden project in the city of Seongnam.

Prosecutors suspect the money was used to help finance Lee's presidential campaign.

"I didn't receive even a piece of candy, let alone presidential campaign funds," Lee said.

Lee urged President Yoon Suk-yeol and the ruling People Power Party to agree to a special prosecutor investigation into the development corruption scandal in Seongnam, including allegations of irregularities involving Yoon.

"I officially ask the president and the ruling party," Lee said. "Please accept a special probe."

The ruling People Power Party, however, immediately rejected the request, saying Lee is trying to stall for time.

Lee and his party have denounced the prosecution investigation as a political reprisal and an attempt to supress the opposition.

"The government and the ruling party seem to be trying to annihilate and deny the existence of the opposition party," Lee said.

The investigation gained speed after Yoo Dong-gyu, former acting president of Seongnam Development Corp. involved in the land development project, told investigators that he relayed the money to Kim from private developers.

DP floor leader Park Hong-geun raised suspicion that prosecutors released Yoo in return for the statement.

Yoo was arrested and indicted last year for his alleged involvement in the development scandal and other charges and was released from jail early Thursday due to an expiration of a legal detainment period.

"We have to suspect that Yoo Dong-gyu and the prosecution had a shared interest in lowering the criminal penalty for Yoo and weaving Lee Jae-myung into the case through Kim," Park said in a radio interview.

Main opposition Democratic Party Chair Lee Jae-myung adjusts his glasses on Oct. 20, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Main opposition Democratic Party Chair Lee Jae-myung adjusts his glasses on Oct. 20, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!