South Korea opposition leader faces indictment soon, Yonhap says

Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung has said he is the victim of a political witch hunt aimed at removing a rival of the president. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL – The leader of South Korea’s opposition Democratic Party could face prosecution in the next few days, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office is considering indicting Mr Lee Jae-myung this week on charges related to an alleged land scandal and bribery, Yonhap reported, citing unidentified people in the legal industry.

Prosecutors in February had sought an arrest warrant for Mr Lee over allegations including breach of duty and third-party bribery, charges the former presidential candidate denied. Parliament refused to authorise the arrest warrant after lawmakers narrowly voted against the motion.

Mr Lee has said he is the victim of a political witch hunt aimed at removing a rival of the President and denied any wrongdoing. He has been questioned by prosecutors extensively this year, telling reporters after a session in January that law enforcement authorities had already made up their minds to indict him and were not interested in the truth.

Prosecutors have been looking into Mr Lee’s time as mayor of Seongnam, south of Seoul, from 2010 to 2018, local media have reported.

The law enforcement authorities have been investigating whether about 17 billion won (S$17 million) in corporate donations to a local soccer team during his term came in return for administrative favours, and if he was also involved in a real estate speculation scandal. BLOOMBERG

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