Indictment Against Lee Jae-myung Makes No Reference to Any Money Paid to Lee

Prosecutors instead allege Lee gained "political benefit" by being able to keep his campaign promises.

Indictment Against Lee Jae-myung Makes No Reference to Any Money Paid to Lee

Photo: Lee Jae-myung.  Credit: Democratic Party of Korea.

On March 25, prosecutors indicted Democratic Party chairman Lee Jae-myung 이재명 당대표 on charges of breach of duty in regard to the Daejang-dong real estate development and third party bribery in connection with the Seongnam FC soccer team.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office 서울중앙지방검찰청 had previously sought to arrest Lee on February 16, but the National Assembly 국회, where the Democrats hold the majority, rejected the bid to override the prohibition against arresting a sitting legislator. (See previous coverage, “Lee at the Crossroads with the Arrest Warrant Vote.”)

The indictment repeated the allegations made in the arrest warrant concerning Lee’s tenure as the mayor of Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do Province 경기도 성남. According to the indictment, Lee breached his duty by allowing private real estate developers to make a significant profit, and himself profited politically by attracting sponsors for the city-owned professional soccer team. (See previous coverage, “Prosecutors’ Absurd Charges Against Lee.”)

Significantly, however, the indictment does not allege that the former liberal presidential candidate received any money. Prosecutors had been claiming since January that Lee made a deal with developers in exchange for a kickback of KRW 42.8b (USD 33m) to be paid in the future. But the indictment made no reference to the allegation, indicating that the prosecutors had no evidence to support the claim.

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