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Prosecutors likely to indict opposition leader over corruption allegations this week

14:11 March 19, 2023

SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors are expected to indict opposition leader Lee Jae-myung this week over development corruption and bribery allegations arising from his previous stint as a mayor of Seongnam, south of Seoul, informed sources said Sunday.

The chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) has been under the prosecution's investigation over bribery, breach of duty, conflict of interests and other charges surrounding development projects in Seongnam and the city's municipal football club.

Lee, mayor of Seongnam from 2010-2018, was charged with breach of trust for allegedly causing 489.5 billion won (US$381.6 million) of financial damage to the city government by approving the removal of a profit-sharing arrangement for the Daejang-dong project, consequently letting private partners pocket excess profits of 788.6 billion won.

In connection with another development project in Seongnam, Lee was accused of giving inside information to private developers so that they were selected as project partners and gained 21.1 billion won in unfair profits.

The bribery case involves allegations that Lee, serving as the head of Seongnam FC during his mayorship, attracted 13.3 billion won in corporate donations to the football club from four companies in return for administrative favors.

Lee has denied all the allegations, branding the investigation as politically orchestrated by the Yoon Suk Yeol government to remove a "political enemy." Lee ran in last year's presidential election, where Yoon won by a razor-thin margin over Lee.

Prosecutors had sought an arrest warrant for Lee, but the National Assembly narrowly voted down the government's request for consent to arrest the opposition leader on Feb. 27.

By law, parliamentary consent is necessary to arrest a lawmaker while parliament is in session.

Lee Jae-myung (C), chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, attends a rally in downtown Seoul on March 18, 2023, to denounce the results of President Yoon Suk Yeol's summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. (Yonhap)


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