Former Vice Knowledge and Economy Minister Park Young-joon was arrested Monday for accepting bribes from a construction developer.
But the court rejected the prosecutors' request for a warrant to arrest Kang Cheol-won, a former Seoul Metropolitan Government official, accused of having received bribes from the company, named Picity, upon Park’s request for favors.
Park refused to respond to reporters’ questions on his bribery as he entered the court around 10:15 a.m. Kang, who arrived about five minutes later, curtly said, “I’ve told everything to the prosecutors and I apologize ... I admit (that the money was for favors),“ before entering.
Park, a key associate of President Lee Myung-bak, is suspected of having received about 100 million won from then-representative of Picity Lee Jeong-bae between 2006 and 2007 in return for providing help in getting the distribution complex project approved by Seoul City.
Kang was allegedly introduced to Picity’s broker Lee Dong-ryul by Park.
The Central Investigation Department of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office also has had Former Korea Communications Commission Chairman Choi See-joong in custody since April 30 on charges of having received 800 million won ($700,000) from broker Lee. Choi has denied the charges and argued he only received 200 million from Lee Dong-ryul, his long-time friend, for personal use.
The prosecutors are also set to question Lee Dong-jo, a local businessman from Pohang and a close associate of Park, as soon as he returns from his overseas stay. The prosecutors suspect that Park may have used Lee Dong-jo’s accounts to launder the bribes from Picity.
The investigation is likely to continue to expand around Park as the prosecutors have reportedly found evidence showing dubious transactions involving a large sum of money on frequent occasions on the bank account of Park’s brother, according to local news reports.
By Lee Joo-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org)