Arrest warrants sought for 2 men in high-profile development scandal

December 14, 2022

SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Yonhap) — Prosecutors sought arrest warrants Thursday for two men on suspicion of helping a key suspect in a high-profile real estate development scandal conceal his assets.

The scandal centers on the allegations that a small private asset management company, Hwacheon Daeyu, was allowed to reap astronomical investment profits from the development project in Daejang-dong in Seongnam, just south of Seoul.

Lee Han-sung, co-CEO of Hwacheon Daeyu, and Choi Woo-hyang, director of the company, allegedly helped the firm’s de facto owner Kim Man-bae conceal criminal proceeds of 26 billion won (US$20 million), according to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office.

The suspects allegedly concealed the assets with various methods, such as fabricating accounting books and purchasing property under borrowed names, they said.

After freezing about 80 billion won worth of assets owned by Kim and other suspects in the scandal, prosecutors have been tracing their hidden assets.

Kim — currently standing trial on charges of bribery, embezzlement and breach of trust — launched the project when Lee Jae-myung, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, was mayor of Seongnam.

On Wednesday, Kim attempted suicide, but his injuries were not life-threatening, fire authorities said.