Former Ssangbangwool Group chair Kim Seong-tae has flatly denied most allegations against him in a trial over the embezzlement of company funds and remittance to North Korea.
During trial at the Suwon District Court on Friday, Kim's legal representative said his client had no intention of illegally acquiring property that was not his and denies charges of embezzlement, breach of duty, and violating the capital market and financial investment laws.
Kim is accused of embezzling 53-point-eight billion won from five unlisted firms suspected to be shell companies established under the names of Ssangbangwool Group executives and employees, as well as forcing affiliates to give one-point-one billion won in support funds.
Kim's legal team, however, did not state his position on the bribery, political fund violation and remittance charges involving former Gyeonggi Vice Governor Lee Hwa-young, saying a related trial and investigation are under way.
Kim is accused of transferring five million dollars to Pyongyang in 2019 on behalf of Gyeonggi Province to finance a smart farm project in the regime. He allegedly sent an additional three million dollars to cover a trip to the North by main opposition Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung, who was Gyeonggi governor at the time.
The ex-Ssangbangwool chief is also suspected of handing over 330 million won in illicit political funds, including 260 million won in bribes, to the former Gyeonggi vice governor between 2018 and 2022.