Former presidential aide Kim Du-woo was detained early Wednesday on graft charges as part of a prosecutorial inquiry into suspended mutual savings banks.
Kim allegedly accepted gift certificates and golf clubs worth 100 million won ($100,000) from an indicted lobbyist named Park Tae-gyu in exchange for pulling strings to ease the inspection on troubled Busan Mutual Savings Bank.
President Lee Myung-bak ordered a probe and punishment of any confidant or relative of his implicated in wrongdoing Tuesday, just hours before the court review of whether to issue a warrant to detain Kim.
The prosecution was also taking steps to summon a senior deputy governor of the nation’s top financial regulator later this week.
Park Won-ho, one of the three deputy chiefs of the Financial Supervisory Service, is suspected of receiving bribes worth tens of millions of won from Park.
The 71-year-old lobbyist has told state prosecutors that he gave gift certificates to Park, but not for lobbying purposes.
Park Tae-gyu allegedly asked the senior FSS official to see if there are any ways to ease the regulator’s scrutiny on banks affiliated with the Busan savings bank.
Like Kim, the FSS official is denying receiving any requests or kickbacks from Park, although he acknowledges him as an acquaintance.
The two Parks were accompanied by Kim when they met, according to prosecutors.
Kim resigned as senior presidential secretary for public relations two weeks ago upon being subpoenaed by the prosecution, just three months after assuming the position.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)