Police raided Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung’s home Friday as part of a probe into allegations that Lee forcefully institutionalized his estranged brother in a mental hospital and lied about the matter during the June general election campaign period.
Investigators from the Bundang Police Station also raided a number of offices in Seongnam City Hall, where Lee’s office is located. The officers also took the governor’s mobile phone on the same day.
Lee, who is affiliated with the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, was a contender in the party’s presidential primary last year. He served as the mayor of Seongnam, the second-largest city of Gyeonggi Province, from 2010 until he won his governor seat in June this year.
Lee has been facing a number of allegations, both before and after being elected Gyeonggi Province governor, involving his family members, his alleged affiliation with an organized crime syndicate, and an alleged extramarital affair with actress Kim Bu-seon.
In June, the minor opposition Bareunmirae party filed a complaint against Lee, alleging that he abused his political authority, while he was mayor of Seongnam, to institutionalize his older brother, Jae-sun, in a mental hospital without his consent, in 2012.
The governor and Jae-sun, who was often openly critical of his younger brother’s political career, were estranged. Jae-sun died last year.
Lee denies the allegations, saying his late brother had been abusive toward their mother and his own wife, and that his family members had agreed to have him placed in a mental institution.
The Bareummirae Party claims that Lee violated the election law by denying the allegations -- and thereby lying -- during a TV debate in the election period earlier this year.
The party also claims that Lee lied about his alleged affair with actress Kim during the election campaign, by denying the allegations. He once accused Kim of being a “pathological liar.”
The actress, meanwhile, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Lee, claiming that she had had an affair with Lee.
Police said Friday’s raid was solely related to the allegations regarding Lee’s late brother.
Before entering politics, Lee was a human rights lawyer.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org