Prosecutors Investigate “Cash in Lee Jae-myung’s Home,” Democratic Party Calls It “A Malicious Accusation” and Claims “Property Was Registered”

Huh Jin-moo 2022. 11. 24. 16:19
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Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, speaks at a meeting of the party’s Supreme Council at the National Assembly on November 21. Bak Min-gyu, Senior Reporter

On November 24, there was news that the prosecutors investigating the alleged corruption in the Daejang-dong development project in Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi launched a probe into cash amounting to hundreds of millions of won that Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea stored in his home.

On Wednesday, Anti-corruption Investigation Division 3 (chief prosecutor Gang Baek-sin) of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office called in A, a former employee in the secretary’s office at the Gyeonggi-do government, as a witness for questioning. A is the person who first reported the alleged misuse of the Gyeonggi-do government corporate credit card by Kim Hye-kyung, Lee Jae-myung’s wife.

During the questioning, A is known to have told prosecutors that she saw Bae, a former Grade-5 public official in the Gyeonggi-do government known to be a close aide to Lee and Kim, leave Lee’s residence carrying a paper bag full of cash last June, ahead of the Democratic Party presidential primary. She also said that Bae deposited the cash into Lee’s bank account, saying, “It’s about 100-200 million won,” and “They’re making me do this.”

The prosecutors are looking into the possibility of political funds or bribes from developers in the Daejang-dong project flowing into the cash Lee stored. Kim Yong, vice president of the Institute for Democracy and Lee’s close aide, was arrested and charged for receiving a total of 847 million won on four occasions from Daejang-dong developers from last April to August (violation of the Political Funds Act).

The Democratic Party released a statement and said, “For the presidential primary, on June 28, 2021, Lee deposited the cash he possessed at the time in an account at the Nonghyup Gyeonggi-do Provincial Office branch, which he usually used, to pay for the election deposit and the lease for the primary campaign office amounting to 270 million won.”

The Democratic Party argued, “The prosecutors’ accusation that the money was from the people involved in Daejang-dong is impossible and is only a malicious accusation intended to tarnish Lee’s reputation.” The party further explained, “Lee withdrew 150 million won from a Nonghyup account in his name on March 20, 2019 and 50 million won on October 25 that same year, and along with the condolence money from his mother’s funeral in March 2020, he had kept it in cash. The details about the cash he possessed is stated in the public official property registration for 2020-2021.”

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