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(LEAD) Main opposition headquarters, home of close aide to party leader raided over bribery allegations

All News 09:43 November 09, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more info)
By Park Boram

SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors raided the headquarters of the main opposition Democratic Party and the home of one of party leader Lee Jae-myung's closest confidants Wednesday over suspicions that he received bribes from real estate developers.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office sent investigators to the house of Jeong Jin-sang, a vice chief of staff to Lee, to seize evidence related to the allegations, officials said. Prosecution investigators were also sent to search the DP headquarters in Seoul's Yeouido, where Jeong's office is located.

Jeong, known as Lee's "right-hand man," is one of the party leader's two closest aides, along with Kim Yong, deputy head of the DP's Institute for Democracy think tank.

Jeong was accused of having received nearly 100 million won (US$72,637) from real estate developers at the center of a high-profile property development corruption scandal at the Daejang-dong district of Seongnam, south of Seoul, between 2014-2020, in return for business favors.

The raid came a day after prosecutors indicted Kim on charges of receiving 847 million won in illegal political funds from the property developers.

Prosecutors suspect Jeong leaked real estate development information he obtained while working for the Seongnam municipal and the Gyeonggi provincial governments to the real estate developers, including lawyer Nam Wook, to help them amass massive profits from the Daejang-dong project.

Prosecutors also suspect Jeong and Kim have been in a close relationship since 2010, and were treated to drinking parties and given holiday presents by the developers.

Jeong is also suspected of having attempted to silence former acting President Yoo Dong-gyu of Seongnam Development Corp., a key suspect in the scandal, ahead of a prosecution raid into Yoo's home in September last year.

Lee was serving as Seongnam mayor when the development project in the city was launched in 2015. Jeong served as a high-level aide to Lee during his Seongnam mayoral term and then moved on to become a ranking aide again to Lee after he assumed the Gyeonggi governorship.

Both Lee and Jeong have flatly refuted the suspicions.

Stacks of documents are moved into the Seoul Central Prosecutors Office on Nov. 8, 2022. (Yonhap)

Stacks of documents are moved into the Seoul Central Prosecutors Office on Nov. 8, 2022. (Yonhap)


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