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Kwak to face inquiry Monday

By Lee Sun-young
Seoul’s education superintendent Kwak No-hyun will present himself before prosecutors Monday to face questioning over allegations that he bought a rival candidate out of the race in last year’s election, his spokesperson said Friday.
“The superintendent plans to comply with the summons,” Cho Shin, an official at the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said.
Earlier in the day, the prosecution issued a summons for Kwak as a suspect, asking him to appear at the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office in Seocho, southern Seoul, at 10 a.m. on Monday.
The move came on the heels of a two-hour-long raid on his home in southwestern Seoul early in the morning, where investigators confiscated some memos and computer files.
They also searched the homes of three others ― the manager and a book-keeper of Kwak’s election camp and the camp manager of Park Myoung-gee, an arrested professor of Seoul National University of Education who received money from Kwak and dropped out of the superintendent race.
On Aug. 28, Kwak admitted to giving Park a total of 200 million won, but insisted that it was a token of goodwill, not a kickback payment in return for the professor’s candidacy withdrawal.
Park pulled out of the superintendent race just two weeks before the vote, leaving Kwak as the sole liberal candidate.
Prosecution officials, however, vowed to shed light on the deal they suspect was made between Kwak and Park.
They allege that aides of Kwak and Park ― surnamed Lee and Yang, respectively ― struck a deal on monetary compensation on behalf of their bosses, on the eve of Park’s withdrawal of candidacy.
“We have secured enough evidence,” Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed prosecution official as saying.
Lee was in charge of book-keeping in Kwak’s camp, while Yang was the manager of Park’s election camp. They are related by marriage.
Prosecutors plan to question them Friday and Saturday.
Apart from the 200 million won given to Park, they believe that the appointment of Park as an advisor to the Seoul education office earlier this year was a form of bribe.
Kwak, a former law professor, said he would stay in his post and fight to clear his name.
Civic activists and former members of Kwak’s camp who were involved in the unification process of liberal candidates claim that Park demanded as much as 1 billion won and that Kwak had flatly rejected it.
(milaya@heraldcorp.com)
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