Prosecutors to grill opposition leader’s ‘right-hand man’ over corruption allegations

SEOUL– A ranking Democratic Party (DP) official, nicknamed the “right-hand man” of opposition leader Lee Jae-myung, has been asked to appear before prosecutors later this week to face questioning about his corruption allegations, judicial officials said Monday.

Jeong Jin-sang, a vice chief of staff to DP Chairman Lee, will be summoned as a criminal suspect to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office in southern Seoul on Tuesday, they said. He was initially asked to appear before prosecutors last Friday but requested the schedule be delayed.
Jeong is accused of having received nearly 140 million won (US$106,100) from real estate developers at the center of a high-profile property development corruption scandal in the Daejang-dong district of Seongnam, just south of Seoul, between 2013 and 2020 in return for offering business favors.

Jeong had served as a senior policy secretary to Lee while he served as the Seongnam mayor and then the governor of Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul, from the early 2010s until late last year.

Jeong is known as one of Lee’s two closest aides, along with Kim Yong, deputy head of the DP’s Institute for Democracy think tank. Kim was indicted last Thursday on charges of receiving 847 million won in illegal political funds from the same property developers.

Jeong is also suspected of agreeing to secure a 24.5 percent stake worth 42.8 billion won in the profit of a high-profile Daejang-dong developer, Kim Man-bae, in collusion with Kim and Yoo Dong-gyu, former acting president of Seongnam Development Corp.

In addition, Jeong is accused of attempting to help lawyer Nam Wook and other private developers secure a huge profit from another Seongnam development project in the Wirye district by leaking internal municipal information to them.

Jeong also faces a charge of instigating the destruction of evidence by allegedly instructing Yoo to throw his mobile phone out the window prior to prosecutors’ raid on his home in September last year.

Prosecutors are expected to grill Jeong over the corruption allegations and whether Lee was aware of or involved in his alleged crimes.

Both Lee and Jeong have flatly denied the allegations, dismissing them as a “poorly written novel.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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