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Prosecutors seek repatriation of savings bank's lobbyist from Canada

South Korea's prosecution has beefed up its investigation team to speed up the repatriation from Canada of a key lobbyist for a troubled local savings bank to probe his role in a massive influence-peddling scandal, officials said Saturday.

Park Tae-gyu, 71, is suspected of helping corruption-ridden Busan Savings Bank lobby senior officials and politicians so that the lender could avoid a suspension of operations, officials at the Supreme Prosecutors' Office said.

The high-profile lobbyist is also accused of raising 100 billion won (US$92.5 million) in funds from a scholarship foundation and a local college by issuing new shares using his personal network, inflicting damage to investors, they noted.

In spite of Park's alleged lobbying activities, the nation's largest savings bank in February faced a six-month suspension due to weak capital strength stemming from bad real estate loans.

As the investigation on the scandal drags on due to the absence of the key suspect, South Korea's new prosecutor general Han Sang-dae assigned seven more veteran prosecutors to the case, officials noted.

Prosecutors have asked Canadian authorities and Interpol to cooperate in the search for Park and his repatriation to South Korea, officials said, adding that they are also seeking help from Canadian immigration authorities. (Yonhap News)

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