Arrest warrant sought for opposition leader’s ‘right-hand man’ over bribery charges

SEOUL– Prosecutors on Wednesday sought an arrest warrant for one of opposition leader Lee Jae-myung’s closest confidants over bribery and other charges connected to a high-profile real estate development scandal.

Jeong Jin-sang, a vice chief of staff to Democratic Party (DP) Chairman Lee, was accused of having received nearly 140 million won (US$105,596) between 2013 and 2020 from real estate developers at the center of the development corruption scandal in return for business favors.

The arrest warrant request suggests the investigation is closing in on Lee.

Known as Lee’s “right-hand man,” Jeong had served as a senior policy secretary to Lee while he served as the Seongnam mayor and then the governor of Gyeonggi Province surrounding Seoul.

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, who was indicted last week on charges of receiving hundreds of millions of won in illegal political funds from the property developers.

Jeong is also facing suspicions that he was promised a 24.5 percent stake worth 42.8 billion won in the lucrative development project in the Daejang-dong district of Seongnam, in return for business favors given to the real estate developers, including Kim Man-bae.

Charges against him also include destruction of evidence for telling Yoo Dong-gyu, former acting president of Seongnam Development Corp. and a key suspect in the development scandal, to throw his mobile phone out of the window when prosecutors raided his home in September last year.

During a nearly 14-hour prosecution questioning the previous day, Jeong flatly refuted the charges. A court hearing is expected around Friday on whether to issue the requested warrant.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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