The suspicion surrounding the Daejang-dong development project involves legal advisors who formerly served as prosecutors or judges. They were mainly introduced by Kim Man-bae who is a large shareholder of Hwacheon Daeyu and had worked as a legal journalist since 2004 until resigning due to the recent scandal. The members of the advisors include former special prosecutor Park Yeong-soo whose daughter joined Hwacheon Daeyu as an employee and won the ownership of an apartment in Daejang-dong, former Supreme Court justice Kwon Soon-il who led a judgment of an acquittal at the Supreme Court for Governor of Gyeonggi Province Lee Jae-myung’s violation of the election law, and lawyer Lee Gyung-jae who defended Choi Soon-sil in the case involving her. As some say that the number of legal advisors is around 30, the details of the remaining advisors remain to be seen.
Kim graduated from the Eastern Philosophy Department of Sungkyunkwan University. As there are only a few prosecutors from Sungkyunkwan University, he was close to Kwak Sang-do who graduated from the same university and served as a prosecutor of the Special Forces and a Senior Secretary to the President for Civil Affairs. Kwak’s son received five billion won in severance pay after working for six years at Hwacheon Daeyu. Hwacheon Daeyu’s advisory counsel Kang Chan-woo served as a former chief prosecutor and defended Gov. Lee’s older brother’s case of forced hospitalization. Former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl was also mentioned in relation to the scandal. Kim's older sister bought Yoon's father's house two years ago. More details are needed to find out if it was a coincidence or has a behind story.
At the center of the private side of the Daejang-dong development project are lawyers specialized in real estate other than Kim, for example, Nam Wook who designed a profit distribution structure between the public and private sectors and Cho Hyun-seong who worked at the same law firm as Nam. They invested in Cheonhwa Dongin along with Kim, his family, and acquaintances and earned astronomical gains. They were supposed to seek both profits and public interest as lawyers but were highly speculative instead.
When Nam was under investigation for the corruption scandal surrounding the Daejang-dong development project in 2015, Kang was the one who brought a charge against him. Former special prosecutor Pak and lawyer Cho defended Nam. The involvement of former Supreme Court justice Kwon and lawyer Kang in Hwacheon Daeyu seems to have been in favor of Gov. Lee. The scandal is now evolving beyond simple real estate-gate to become legal-gate involving a number of legal advisors who served as judicial officers.
The Daejang-dong development project was led by Hwacheon Daeyu on the private side and Seongnam Development Corporation on the public side. The prosecution began to seize and search the two on Wednesday, but it is criticized for being late. Yongsan Police Station, not the National Office of Investigation, had been in charge of the scandal for five months before the prosecution began its investigation. Both the ruling and the opposition parties are involved in the scandal. If the police and prosecution’s investigation does not resolve suspicions sufficiently or sides with either the ruling or the opposition, the investigation itself will be judged in the future.