Two men apprehended for helping key suspect in development scandal conceal assets

SEOUL– The prosecution investigating a high-profile real estate development scandal in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Tuesday apprehended two men who allegedly helped a key suspect in the case conceal his assets.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office said Lee Han-sung, a co-CEO of Hwacheon Daeyu, and Choi Woo-hyang, a director of the company, were detained for questioning.

The asset management company played a key role in the development project in the city’s Daejang district.

It is owned by Kim Man-bae, the main culprit in the scandal, who is on trial along with his accomplices on charges that include bribery, embezzlement and breach of trust.
Lee and Choi are suspected of helping Kim conceal criminal proceeds from the project, which was launched in 2015, when Lee Jae-myung, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, was mayor of Seongnam.

Prosecutors have frozen about 80 billion won (US$61 million) worth of assets owned by Kim and other suspects in the scandal and have been tracing their hidden assets.

Lee Han-sung is known to have managed Kim’s bank accounts under his direction. He was also an aide to Lee Hwa-young, former vice Gyeonggi Province governor, when Lee was a lawmaker.

Lee Hwa-young is a confidant of opposition leader Lee Jae-myung and was indicted in October for taking bribes from SBW Inc., an underwear company, in return for business favors related to inter-Korean economic projects.

Choi, a longtime friend of Kim, allegedly borrowed about 8 billion won from Kim and Hwacheon Daeyu in 2020 and 2021.

Choi is also a former vice chair of SBW Inc. and is being investigated over allegations that the company paid about 2 billion won in attorney fees for Lee Jae-myung in 2018.

Prosecutors are looking into suspicion that some money Choi borrowed from Kim may have channeled to a former chairperson of SBW and then delivered to Lee Jae-myung’s side.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

scroll to top