Confidant of opposition leader indicted for alleged political fund law violation

SEOUL– Prosecutors indicted a close confidant of opposition leader Lee Jae-myung on Tuesday on charges of receiving illegal political funds worth 847 million won (US$591,000) from property developers in the city of Seongnam, just south of Seoul.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office said it referred Kim Yong, deputy head of the Institute for Democracy, a think tank affiliated with the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), for court trial on suspicion of violating the political fund law.

Kim was arrested on Oct. 19 on suspicion of taking the funds from Seongnam’s property developers, including lawyer Nam Wook, last year in collusion with Yoo Dong-gyu, former acting president of Seongnam Development Corp., and another lawyer Chung Min-yong.

Prosecutors suspect the 847 million won was handed over to Kim on four occasions between April and August last year ahead of the DP’s primary election to pick its candidate to run for this year’s presidential election.

They believe the money was used to help fund Lee’s primary election campaign. Lee won the party’s presidential nomination later last year but was defeated by a narrow margin by President Yoon Suk-yeol in the presidential election in March this year.

Kim has flatly denied all the charges but prosecutors have said all statements of those involved, including Nam, Yoo and Chung, about how the money was delivered are consistent.

Following Kim’s indictment, prosecutors are expected to expand their investigations to include corruption allegations by another confidant of Lee, named Jeong Jin-sang.

Prosecutors suspect Jeong, a DP official now serving in the DP chair’s office, received about 100 million won from Yoo in 2014, when Lee was serving as Seongnam mayor and Jeong was a policy chief in the mayoral office.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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