(LEAD) Opposition leader to hold press conference on prosecution probe

(ATTN: President of the ADDS DP, comments of the room manager in the last 4 paragraphs)

SEOUL, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) — Opposition Leader Lee Jae-myung will hold an unannounced press conference at 11 a.m., officials said, as a prosecution investigation closes in on him after a warrant arrest was requested against one of his closest collaborators. for taking illegal campaign funds.

Kim Yong, a longtime Lee confidant, is suspected of receiving 847 million won ($593,552) in illegal political funds last year from property developers involved in a corruption-laden project in the city. of Seongnam when Lee was mayor.

Prosecutors suspect the money was used to help fund Lee’s presidential campaign.

Lee, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, denied any wrongdoing, saying he had never used a penny of illegal money and believed Kim was innocent.

Lee and his party have denounced the prosecutor’s investigation as political retaliation and an attempt to crack down on the opposition.

“The government and the ruling party seem to be trying to wipe out and deny the existence of the opposition party,” Lee said.

The investigation accelerated after Yoo Dong-gyu, former acting chairman of Seongnam Development Corp. involved in the land development project, told investigators that he passed the money from private developers to Kim.

DP leader Park Hong-geun raised suspicions that prosecutors released Yoo in exchange for the statement.

Yoo was arrested and charged last year for his alleged involvement in the development scandal and other charges and was released from jail early Thursday due to the expiration of a period of lawful detention.

“We have to suspect that Yoo Dong-gyu and the prosecution had a common interest in reducing the criminal sentence for Yoo and implicating Lee Jae-myung in the case through Kim,” Park said in an interview with the radio.

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