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(2nd LD) Opposition leader claims innocence but agrees to comply with summons for questioning

19:34 January 18, 2023

(ATTN: ADDS new info in para 6)
By Lee Minji

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung said Wednesday he will appear before prosecutors for questioning over development corruption allegations, claiming once again that he is innocent and accusing the prosecution of fabricating charges against him.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office has asked Lee to show up for questioning on Jan. 27 as part of an investigation involving a high-profile property development project in Daejang-dong in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, launched while Lee was serving as mayor of Seongnam.

"As the prosecution told me to come again, I will go, even though I have done nothing wrong," Lee, chairman of the Democratic Party, told reporters during a visit to a traditional market in Seoul.

Lee, however, said he will appear on Jan. 28 instead of the date proposed by prosecutors.

"I need to handle state affairs and work related to the party," he said. "Given the circumstance in which there are countless pending issues, I need to work on weekdays, so I will attend questioning on Jan. 28 instead of Jan. 27."

Later in the day, the DP said Lee's side and the prosecution set the date for Jan. 28.

Lee accused the prosecution of abusing its power "for private interest" and attempting to "create non-existent allegations."

The Daejang-dong case centers on allegations that a private asset management company, Hwacheon Daeyu, was allowed to reap huge investment profits from the development project in the Seongnam neighborhood.

Prosecutors suspect Hwacheon Daeyu was able to collect about 404 billion won (US$327 million) of profits from the Daejang-dong project thanks to dubious arrangements approved by then Mayor Lee. Lee is suspected of breach of trust during the process.

Last week, Lee underwent 12 hours of questioning as part of a separate investigation into bribery allegations linked to a football club in Seongnam.

Lee has denounced the probes as a politically motivated attempt to remove him.

Main opposition Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung speaks to reporters during a visit to a traditional market in western Seoul on Jan. 18, 2023. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)



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