A hearing will be held next week to review the issuance of a pretrial detention warrant for main opposition Democratic Party(DP) leader Lee Jae-myung over corruption and third-party bribery allegations.
The hearing at the Seoul Central District Court is set to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
This comes after the opposition-strong National Assembly on Thursday approved a request for parliamentary consent for Lee's detention with 149 votes in favor, 136 against, six abstentions, and four invalid ballots.
Parliamentary consent is required to detain legislators while the Assembly is in session.
Lee is accused of providing administrative and business favors to private investors involved in a project to build apartment buildings on the former site of the Korea Food Research Institute in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province from 2014 to 2015 while serving as the city’s mayor.
In the process, Lee is alleged to have caused financial losses to the Seongnam Development Corporation of at least 20 billion won, or around 15 million U.S. dollars.
The DP chief is also suspected of scheming with former Gyeonggi Vice Mayor Lee Hwa-young while serving as provincial governor in 2019 to have local underwear manufacturer Ssangbangwool Group transfer eight million dollars to North Korea on behalf of the municipal government.
Out of the total remittance, five million dollars were allegedly earmarked for a smart farm project in the North, while another three million dollars were purportedly to cover Lee's trip to the regime.
It is unclear whether the DP chief will attend Tuesday's hearing as he remains hospitalized having entered the 23rd day of hunger strike. It could also be postponed to a later date upon Lee's request.