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Lee appears at 2nd parliamentary audit amid snowballing corruption scandal

Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung arrives at the Gyeonggi provincial government office in Suwon, 46 km south of Seoul, on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung arrives at the Gyeonggi provincial government office in Suwon, 46 km south of Seoul, on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, the presidential nominee of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), appeared at a parliamentary audit Wednesday, the second time this week he will be asked about his possible involvement in a massive development corruption scandal.

Lee said in his opening remarks that he will not address questions unrelated to provincial administration and that an audit is not the same as a confirmation hearing.

"Today I plan to limit my answers, if possible, to questions related to state-entrusted issues and projects subsidized by the state, as stipulated by law," he said before the National Assembly's Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee at the Gyeonggi government office in Suwon, 46 km south of Seoul.

The session is likely to be one of his last official duties as governor before he resigns to focus on the presidential election slated for March 9.Wednesday's audit comes only two days after Lee fielded a barrage of questions about the Seongnam land development project at a separate audit of his government by the National Assembly's Public Administration and Security Committee.

The DP praised Lee's performance, claiming he delivered a convincing argument proving his innocence.

The main opposition People Power Party (PPP), which had vowed to use the audits to expose Lee's alleged corruption, was dealt a major embarrassment after one of its lawmakers used a dubious photo of cash bundles to accuse the governor of taking bribes from gangsters.

The corruption scandal centers on revelations that a little-known asset management company reaped profits worth 1,000 times its investment in an apartment development project in Seongnam's Daejang-dong district in 2015.

The opposition has accused Lee, who was the city's mayor at the time, of breach of duty for not including a clause that would limit a private investor's profits from the public-private partnership project.

Suspicions also persist that Lee took a share of the enormous profit.

Lee has rejected the allegations and distanced himself from a key suspect, Yoo Dong-gyu, who served as acting president of Seongnam Development Corp. in charge of the city-run project.

Yoo is considered a close aide to the governor and was arrested early this month on charges of breach of trust and bribe-taking. (Yonhap)
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