A Seoul court is deliberating on the prosecution’s request for an arrest warrant for Kim Man-bae, a key figure embroiled in corruption allegations surrounding a land development project in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.
The Seoul Central District Court held a hearing on Thursday as Kim, the biggest shareholder of the asset management firm Hwacheon Daeyu, which is at the center of the scandal, is now facing various charges, including embezzlement and offering bribes.
Kim denied all allegations against him when speaking to reporters before entering the courthouse. The former journalist also dismissed rumors that he has close ties to ruling party presidential nominee and Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung, saying he met the governor once for an interview.
Prosecutors requested an arrest warrant for Kim on Tuesday after grilling him for some 14 hours.
They suspect that Kim gave 500 million won in payoffs to Yoo Dong-gyu, the former head of planning headquarters at Seongnam Development Corporation, in return for favors for the project.
Prosecutors also believe the five billion won that Kim gave to the son of lawmaker Kwak Sang-do as severance pay was in fact, a bribe.
Kim is also suspected of embezzling some five-point-five billion won from the asset management firm in order to pay kickbacks.
A court decision is expected to come as early as Thursday.