Suspect in Daejang-dong scandal dead in apparent suicide
The head of a city development company facing possible arrest in the Daejang-dong corruption scandal was found dead on Friday in an apparent suicide.
Yoo Han-gi, head of Pocheon Urban Corp. and former division manager of the Seongnam Development Corporation at the time the controversial project was launched in 2015, was found dead near his home in Goyang, Gyeonggi on Friday, according to police.
He was reported missing by his family at around 4 a.m. Friday after he left home leaving behind a suicide note. Police found that Yoo left home on foot at 2 a.m., and dispatched personnel to search the surroundings.
At 7:40 a.m., a local resident reported to police after finding Yoo lying on the flowerbed of an apartment complex near his home.
Yoo is suspected of taking bribes of 200 million won ($169,300) in August 2014 from lawyer Nam Wook, owner of Hwacheon Daeyu affiliate Cheonhwa Dongin No. 4, and accountant Jeong Young-hak, owner of Cheonhwa Dongin No. 5.
Hwacheon Daeyu is a small asset management company that is being investigated by prosecutors for its outsized profits in the Daejang-dong development in Seongnam, Gyeonggi.
Its outsized profits from the development have sparked a months-long probe by prosecutors into those suspected of rigging the project’s shareholder composition and profit distribution scheme in favor of the previously little-known company, its affiliates and their owners.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office requested a preliminary arrest warrant for Yoo on Thursday.
Yoo, who denied the allegations, was scheduled to attend an arrest warrant, or an examination of a suspect before arrest, on Dec. 14.
"This is what happens when the No. 1 architect [of a scandal] is left alone and only those around him are investigated," the opposition People Power Party Chairman Lee Jun-seok wrote on Facebook following the death of Yoo, obviously referring to ruling Democratic Party (DP) presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung, who was mayor of Seongnam when the controversial development project was pushed through.
Lee has denied any connection to the scandal, and expressed his openness to an independent counsel investigation of it.
“I feel great sadness in the choice [Yoo] has made,” Lee said in a statement, adding, “To find out a substantial truth, a special probe should be pursued immediately.”
BY SEO JI-EUN [email@example.com]