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Key figure in development corruption scandal to be tried starting this week

April 2, 2023 - 10:37 By Yonhap
Kim Man-bae (second from left) answers questions from reporters at Seoul Central District Court on Jan. 13, before attending his trial about his role in the development project scandal in Daejang-dong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)

A Seoul court is poised to kick off its trial of Kim Man-bae, the owner of an asset management firm at the center of a high-profile development corruption scandal, this week, legal sources said Sunday.

The Seoul Central District Court plans to hold its first hearing of Kim, who has been additionally indicted on charges of concealing criminal proceeds from the lucrative urban development project, on Wednesday afternoon, they said.

The case has grabbed keen public attention for months, especially as Lee Jae-myung, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, is potentially involved in it.

The development project was launched in 2015 while he was the mayor of Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

Prosecutors earlier indicted Kim, the largest shareholder of Hwacheon Daeyu Asset Management, with detention on charges of stashing a combined 39 billion won ($30 million) of illegal proceeds from the development project from October 2021 to November last year.

The former journalist was also charged with having criminal evidence destroyed in 2021 in connection with investigations into the scandal and violating the Farmland Act by falsifying his agricultural career for speculation purposes.

Kim is currently standing trial on breach of duty and other charges related to the scandal that centers on allegations that his firm and its affiliates were chosen as private partners for an apartment development project in the Daejang-dong district of the city of Seongnam, just south of Seoul, in 2015 and reaped huge investment profits. (Yonhap)