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(EDITORIAL of Korea JoongAng Daily on January 20) – World News in Spanish

The prosecution is rambling

Choi Yoon-gil, former chairman of the Seongnam City Council, has been arrested on charges of taking bribes in exchange for helping the city government push through a suspicious development project. As head of the council in February 2013, Choi played a leading role in introducing and passing an ordinance to establish the Seongnam Development Corporation (SDC), which was at a deadlock on the project. After resigning from the presidency, Choi was recruited as vice president of Hwacheon Daeyu, a real estate management company at the center of the scandal, for 100 million won ($83,857) in annual salary and 4 billion won in bonus. based on company performance. developer. Police believe it was a reward for their help in passing the ordinance.

Choi was a close associate of former Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung, now a presidential candidate for the ruling Democratic Party (DP), when he ran for mayor in 2010. In 2012, Choi introduced Yoo Dong-kyu, who later served as the SDC’s chief planning officer, to private investors, including Hwacheon Daeyu, in the early stages of the development project. Instead of closely watching private investors, he volunteered to help them.

Choi’s investigation was initiated by the transcript of a conversation that Jeong Young-hak, a CPA and a stakeholder in the project, had with other stakeholders. The transcript contains shocking phrases such as “giving 3 billion won to the city council chairman” and “2 billion won to council members.” The police were able to arrest Choi after raiding his office and apartment to find evidence of bribery as mentioned in the transcript.

And yet the prosecution is dragging its feet. The focus of the investigation should be on who made huge profits under whose protection. But prosecutors belatedly raided the offices of the mayor and secretaries. It took more than a month to summon Jung Jin-sang, Mayor Lee’s former chief policy officer and deputy on his election campaign committee. Meanwhile, three suspects committed suicide.

Another controversy involves the Board of Audit and Inspection’s (BAI) rejection of a public request to investigate the suspicious design of the development project by the city government, which ended in a profit of 800 billion won for a few. . The BAI rejected the request citing “ongoing investigations and trials.” That’s a lame excuse.

Fortunately, a CPA transcript shows that Kim Man-bae, a major shareholder in Hwacheon Daeyu, planned to offer 42 billion won to former judges and prosecutors. The details of the transcript have just been released by the press. The prosecution must get to the truth.



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