Go to contents

Prosecution indicts Lee Jae-myung for allegations of third-party bribery

Prosecution indicts Lee Jae-myung for allegations of third-party bribery

Posted June. 13, 2024 09:39,   

Updated June. 13, 2024 09:40


Prosecutors on Wednesday brought forth a series of grave charges against Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung, accusing him of involvement in third-party bribery and other serious illegal acts. These allegations, which are currently under intense investigation by the prosecution, are related to the Ssangbangwool Group’s clandestine remittance to the North Korean regime. This marks the fifth indictment of the main opposition’s leader since the Yoon administration assumed office, with four court trials awaiting Lee.

The Criminal Division VI of the Suwon District Public Prosecutor's Office has officially charged Lee under the Act of the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Crimes, and for violations of the Foreign Exchange Transaction Act and the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act. It's worth noting that Lee has not been detained. Last September, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office denied a detention warrant for Lee, which the prosecution had requested in relation to an alleged money transfer to the North Korean regime.

Between January and April 2019 when Lee was then Gyeonggi Governor, he allegedly asked former Ssangbangwool Group Chairman Kim Sung-tae to send to North Korea five million dollars (around six billion won as of exchange rates at the time), which Gyeonggi Province promised to supply to the regime regarding smart farms, claimed prosecutors. Likewise, he has also come under suspicion about telling the South Korean underwear maker to transfer three million dollars (then converted to 3.5 billion won), his cost of visiting North Korea, to the regime from July 2019 to January 2020.

Prosecutors alleged that Lee, in return, pledged to ensure that Gyeonggi Province provides Ssangbangwool with the assurance and support needed to execute business projects in North Korea. They also indicted Lee Hwa-young, a former deputy governor of peace in Gyeonggi Province, for facilitating bribery and former Chairman Kim for offering bribes.

Three court trials are already underway at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office against Lee for violations of the Public Official Election Act, subornation of perjury, and corruption allegations regarding Daejang-dong, Wirye, Seongnam FC, and Baekhyun-dong. Once judicial proceedings are initiated in Suwon concerning his allegations about the remittance of money to the regime, Lee may have to travel back and forth between Suwon and Seoul to attend four trials a week.

In response, Lee criticized the prosecution harshly on that day at the National Assembly in front of reporters. “All the false claims prosecutors are cooking up are of lower quality than ever. Just at a glance, citizens will figure out how absurd their claims are,” he said. “They’d better pay closer attention to people’s livelihoods, security, and economic issues.”

구민기 koo@donga.com