Clear all suspicions

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Clear all suspicions

 After the arrests of Kim Man-bae — a major shareholder of Hwacheon Daeyu, an asset management company at the center of the Daejang-dong development scandal — and lawyer Nam Wook, the prosecution’s investigation into the suspicious development project pushed by ruling Democratic Party (DP) presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung when he was mayor of Seongnam City, Gyeonggi, is gaining momentum. Before getting court-issued arrest warrants for Kim and Nam, prosecutors added suspicion of breach of trust to earlier bribery and embezzlement charges.

Also, the prosecution’s addition of breach of trust to suspicions about Yoo Dong-gyu — former acting president of the Seongnam Development Corporation (SDC), who was already arrested and indicted for taking bribes — will likely lead to investigations of related officials in the city government. In particular, an investigation of Jeong Jin-sang — a senior official in Lee Jae-myung’s camp and a close aide to Lee when he was Seongnam mayor and Gyeonggi governor — is unavoidable after it turned out that Jeong was the last man who talked with Yoo, the former acting CEO of the SDC, on the phone before he threw his smartphone out a window when prosecutors raided him on September 29. Yoo is suspected of attempting to destroy evidence of his conversation with Jeong.

What conversation the two had must be cleared. They are suspected of attempting to match their stories after another stakeholder submitted a transcript of sensitive dialogue between them to prosecutors. Jeong, Lee Jae-myung’s close aide, explained that he just talked with Yoo to check if he was really involved in fraud. That’s hardly convincing.

Appearing at an audit at the National Assembly on October 20, Lee Jae-myung made a shocking remark about Yoo, who “attempted suicide around the time when prosecutors raided him.” After Lee’s comment, opposition lawmakers pressed him to clarify where he got the information.

In a report released Monday, current SDC President Yoon Jeong-soo said his own investigation team could not find “appropriate justifications for the corporation to delete a clause on the distribution of additional profits from the development project.” In a rare move, he said the deletion constitutes a breach of trust, as it caused 179.3 billion won ($151.5 million) in losses to the city. The amount is much higher than the 65.1 billion won in losses the prosecution accused Yoo of having caused the city.

The prosecution’s probe will be headed to other senior officials of the city government. It must get to the bottom of many suspicions. Otherwise, the case must go to a special prosecutor.
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