Prosecutors said Tuesday they have launched an investigation into allegations that a former aide to the communications watchdog’s head received massive bribes from an operator of a local education institution, who is also suspected of embezzlement.
The probe was opened to verify the allegations that the aide, surnamed Jeong, received nearly 200 million won ($173,800) from Kim Hak-in, the chairman of the board for Korea Broadcasting and Art School, a college-level vocational school focused on broadcasting careers.
The communications policy aide to Korea Communications Commission Chairman Choi See-joong reportedly received the money in return for business favors regarding the watchdog’s regulation of the broadcasting school.
Jeong became Choi’s aide in 2008 after working for the election campaign of President Lee Myung-bak in the previous year. He is now running a private business overseas after leaving the commission last year, the communications watchdog said.
Late Monday, prosecutors applied for a warrant to arrest the head of the broadcasting school on separate embezzlement charges.
Kim Hak-in, also a board member for the state-run Education Broadcasting System, is facing suspicion that he privately used billions of won in school tuition income and evaded paying taxes over the past four years.
Prosecutors said they are questioning Kim over the embezzlement allegations as well as the bribery suspicion. News reports also raised allegations that Kim greased hands of other high-profile ruling party lawmakers and public officials in order to win the board seat at the state-run education broadcasting firm and gain other business favors.
The national communications watchdog, meanwhile, denied the allegations surrounding its head, saying the bribery allegations, if any, are irrelevant to its chairman.