‘Suspicion of preferential treatment for Yangpyeong development’ My brother-in-law’s brother-in-law was sent away on charges of forgery of private documents|The Dong-A Ilbo

The police, who have been investigating the suspicion of preferential treatment for the development of the Gongheung district in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi Province, sent Mr. Kim (53), the representative of ESI&D and the brother-in-law of President Yoon Seok-yeol, to the prosecution on charges of forging construction cost documents to lower the development fee. President Yun’s mother-in-law Choi Eun-soon (77), who founded the company, and his wife, Kim Geon-hee, who served as an inside director of the company, made a decision not to repatriate the case, as there was no circumstance that they were involved.

On the 12th, the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Investigation Unit of the Gyeonggi Southern Police Agency sent five ESI&D employees, including Mr. Kim, to the Suwon District Prosecutor’s Office for prosecution on charges of forgery of private documents and forgery of forged documents. The police handed over three civil servants from Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do to the prosecution on charges of falsely writing documents for extending the business period (creating and holding false public documents). According to the police, Mr. Kim and others are accused of inserting forged data into supporting documents related to construction costs in order to lower the 1.748 billion won of the Gongheung district development levy imposed by Yangpyeong-gun in 2016. If a development project generates profits, it is necessary to pay a development levy to the local government.

“My brother-in-law’s company submitted inflated documents to lower the development levy”

Police sent on charges of forgery
Estimated sales of 80 billion won for the brother-in-law family company
Contribution 1.7 billion → 0 won Suspicion of preferential treatment
Police “lobby-no preference” judgment

● Police “Lobby in Gongheung district, no preferential treatment”

Established in July 2005 by Mr. Choi, ESI&D was operated as a family company with 100% ownership by Mr. Choi and his children. ESI&D submitted a plan to build 350 apartments in Gongheung District to Yangpyeong-gun in August 2011 and received approval in November of the following year. When Mr. Choi stepped down as CEO in November 2014, Mr. Kim, Choi’s son and Mrs. Kim’s older brother, took office as CEO and completed the apartment building in July 2016. ESI&D is known to have raised about 80 billion won in sales through this business.

Afterwards, Yangpyeong-gun imposed a development levy of 1.748 billion won on ESI&D. ESI&D filed an objection by submitting new documents such as proof of construction cost, and Yangpyeong-gun reduced the development fee to 625 million won in January 2017. When ESI&D filed another objection, Angpyeong-gun decided not to charge a penny after five months. When suspicions of preferential treatment were raised in the political world ahead of the presidential election, Yangpyeong-gun corrected the development levy to 187 million won in November 2021, and ESI&D paid it in full in May of last year.

In November 2021, a civic group reported Mr. Choi, Mr. Kim, and Mrs. Kim to the police, and Gyeonggi-do also requested an investigation into Mr. Choi and Yangpyeong-gun in December of the same year. After confiscating and searching Yangpyeong-gun and ESI&D, the police called Kim and others to investigate, and confirmed that some of the documents submitted by ESI&D were forged. A police official said, “It has been confirmed that about 1 or 2 copies were forged.”

The police determined that Yangpyeong-gun was not criminally responsible. It was a simple mistake by the public officials in charge, and they did not receive lobbying or give preferential treatment. A police official explained, “Since Yangpyeong-gun was the first (urban development project), a situation was found that public officials were not familiar with in terms of work.”

Instead, the police charged three Yangpyeong-gun officials, including Mr. A, with falsely writing public documents. As a result of the police investigation, Mr. A and others were found to have extended the deadline to July 2016 when ESI&D asked for an extension of the deadline for completion, which was originally in November 2014. According to the Urban Development Act, the extension of the project period is a ‘serious matter’, so it is necessary to listen to the opinions of residents or the council or to approve the deputy governor.

However, Mr. A and others feared that complaints from prospective tenants would pour in if the completion was delayed, so they wrote a report as if it were a minor issue and handled it with the director general’s decision. Regarding this process, a police official said, “We have not found any evidence to prove whether there was a lobby or preferential treatment.”

● President Yoon’s mother-in-law was acquitted

The police decided not to send the charges after conducting a written investigation on Choi. Since Mr. Choi resigned from the representative position before the construction of the Gongheung district started in earnest, he judged that there was no circumstance that he was directly involved. It was judged that the statute of limitations (7 years) had passed on the allegation that Mr. Choi had violated the Farmland Act by acquiring farmland in Yangpyeong from December 2005 for speculative purposes.

The police dismissed the accusation and did not send it on the grounds that Mrs. Kim, who was accused together, also served as an inside director of ESI&D at one time, △resigned before the start of construction △had no stake in ESI&D, and also rejected the accusation against President Yoon. A police official said, “As it is an investigation related to the presidential family, it took some time to review various legal principles.” It has been a year and a half since the police received a complaint in November 2021 and started an investigation. The President’s Office did not make an official position on that day, and an official from the Office of the President only said, “It is not an issue for us to comment on.”

Suwon = Reporter Lee Kyung-jin [email protected]
Reporter Kim Bora [email protected]
Reporter Jeon Joo-young [email protected]

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