Court issues arrest warrants for 2 men in property development scandal

SEOUL, A Seoul court on Friday approved the arrest of two close aides to a key suspect in a high-profile real estate development scandal.

The Seoul Central District Court issued arrest warrants for Lee Han-sung, co-CEO of a private asset management firm, Hwacheon Daeyu, and Choi Woo-hyang, its director. They are suspected of helping its de facto owner, Kim Man-bae, conceal criminal proceeds of 26 billion won (US$20 million).

The scandal centers on the allegations that the company was allowed to reap huge investment profits from the development project in Daejang-dong in Seongnam, just south of Seoul.

The suspects allegedly concealed the assets with various methods, such as fabricating accounting books and purchasing property under borrowed names, they said.

After freezing about 80 billion won worth of assets owned by Kim and other suspects in the scandal, prosecutors have been tracing their hidden assets.

Kim — currently standing trial on charges of bribery, embezzlement and breach of trust — launched the project when Lee Jae-myung, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, was mayor of Seongnam.

Kim is recovering after attempting suicide. His injuries are not life-threatening.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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