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Investigation into Lee’s alleged payment to N. Korea speeds up

Investigation into Lee’s alleged payment to N. Korea speeds up

Posted March. 01, 2023 07:50,   

Updated March. 01, 2023 07:50


The prosecution, which is investigating the suspicions of Ssang Bang Wool, a South Korean clothing company allegedly involved in sending remittances to North Korea, is rapidly closing in on Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung, referring those involved in the case to trial one after another.

On Tuesday, the Suwon District Prosecutor’s Office’s 6th Criminal Division arrested and prosecuted the suspect surnamed Kim, former general manager of Ssang Bang Wool and the “treasurer” of Kim Seong-tae, the former chairman of Ssang Bang Wool, on multiple charges of embezzlement, breach of duty, violation of foreign exchange transaction law, and violation of capital market law.

The prosecution determined that Kim conspired with former Chairman Kim, who was arrested and prosecuted on Feb.3, to smuggle 8 million U.S. dollars overseas. On Monday, the prosecution arrested a man surnamed Park, Kim Seong-tae’s former personal secretary, on charges of aiding and abetting a suspect to flee the country.

Reportedly, the prosecution secured accounting books revealing the flow of 63.5 million won in funds that the former chairman embezzled from Ssang Bang Wool affiliates and paper companies.

Former Ssang Bang Wool chairman and his treasurer are accused of sending 8 million dollars to North Korea on behalf of Lee. The prosecution is of the view that third-party bribery and bribery charges can be respectively applied to the 5 million dollars sent for smart farm development and the 3 million dollars which had been earmarked for Lee’s visit to the North.

The actual amount of embezzlement committed by the former chairman may increase in the process of the prosecution’s investigation. The two Kims are accused of arbitrarily reducing parts of the investment stakes of members of Zeus 1st. This investment association holds convertible bonds (CB) rights of Nanos, an affiliate of Ssang Bang Wool, thereby causing some 450 billion won in losses to 125 members of the association. The prosecution is also reportedly concentrating its resources on analyzing Kim’s account books to verify whether the former chairman of Ssang Bang Wool used the massive funds stolen from the investment association for lobbying activities.

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