Accuser in Lee’s legal fee controversy found dead

SEOUL-- A civic activist, who first raised allegations that ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung paid legal fees by proxy in 2018, has been found dead at a motel in Seoul, police said Wednesday.

The body of the 54-year-old, identified only by his surname Lee, was discovered by an employee of the motel in the southwestern ward of Yangcheon at 8:35 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Seoul Yangcheon Police Station. His family had reported to police that he had been out of contact for several days.

He had reportedly been staying at the motel for the past three months.

Police said they have not find any suspicious signs of forced entry, suicide or foul play and plan to conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of his death.

In a post on his Facebook page on Dec. 10, the activist said he did not intend to ever commit suicide, while some of his acquaintances said he used to drink a lot and was not in good health.

He drew media attention after raising suspicions that Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee had others pay his legal fees in his election law violation case in 2018. He also provided a transcript of relevant recordings to an organization of President Moon Jae-in's supporters.

The transcript allegedly suggests that Lee's lawyer received 300 million won (US$252,000) and stocks worth 2 billion won.

Based on the transcript, the pro-Moon group filed a complaint with the prosecution last October and the Suwon District Prosecutors Office in Suwon, south of Seoul, has launched an investigation.

The ruling party candidate has made remarks indicating that he had spent about 300 million won in legal fees in 2018.

The Democratic Party said candidate Lee has nothing to do with the deceased, accusing him of having made false accusations on the legal fee issue.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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