Police transfer opposition leader Lee’s alleged corruption case to prosecution

SUWON, South Korea, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) — Police have concluded their new investigation into third-party bribery allegations by opposition leader Lee Jae-myung over a corporate donation to a football club years ago and transferred the case to the prosecution with a notice of indictment on Tuesday.

The Gyeonggi Nambu provincial police agency has re-examined allegations that the city of Seongnam, just south of Seoul, attracted large corporate donations to a municipal soccer club in the mid-2010s, when the president of the main opposition party, the Democratic Party (DP), was to serve as his mayor.

The police agency reportedly told the prosecution that a third-party bribery charge can be brought against Lee in connection with donations totaling 5.5 billion won ($4 million) made between 2014 and 2016 by Doosan Engineering. & Construction Co. to the then-managed Seongnam FC. Spoken.

Lee is suspected of changing the city’s use for a 9,900 square meter section of land owned by Doosan in Bundang district from a hospital to a business in return for the company’s donation provided on behalf of the advertising expenses. Thanks to the rezoning, Doosan would have made huge profits, as the value of its Bundang property would have skyrocketed from 7 billion won to around 1 trillion won.

The police agency added that a Seongnam city government official and a former Doosan Engineering CEO surnamed Lee can also be charged with third-party bribery.

Seongnam City has also received large donations for Seongnam FC from five other entities, including internet portal giant Naver Corp. and Nonghyup Bank.

Following an initial investigation into the matter, however, the Bundang Police Station decided in September last year to exonerate Lee from third-party bribery charges involving the six donors and Seongnam FC due to what he called a lack of evidence.

But the prosecution asked the police to reconsider the case in February this year, and the Gyeonggi police agency carried it out. The law enforcement agency still cleared Lee of third-party corruption suspicions related to the five donors, excluding Doosan.

The latest police decision came after prosecutors indicted Lee last week over allegations he violated election law by making false statements about two land development projects in Seongnam during his presidential campaign this year. last.

Lee ran for president as the DP candidate, but was narrowly defeated by People Power Party candidate Yoon Suk-yeol. Lee was elected as the new DP chairman last month.

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