NATIONAL

Former Saenuri party official arrested over nomination scandal

By 이종민
  • Published : Aug 13, 2012 - 20:59
  • Updated : Aug 13, 2012 - 20:59

Prosecutors on Monday detained with a court-issued warrant a former official of the ruling Saenuri Party believed to have served as a go-between in a money-for-nomination scandal for further investigation.

The Busan District Court approved the prosecutors' request to issue an arrest warrant for Cho Ki-moon, a former official at the party's Busan branch.

Cho is suspected of relaying 300 million won ($265,960) from Hyun Young-hee, who sought to bribe her way into the parliament, to Hyun Ki-hwan, then a member of a party committee responsible for nominating candidates for the April parliamentary elections, according to prosecutors.

Hyun Young-hee became a lawmaker on the party's proportional representation ticket.

Prosecutors said they have secured testimony from a secretary of Rep. Hyun that he delivered 300 million won in cash to Cho at a train station in Seoul to give to Hyun Ki-hwan.

Afterward, prosecutors searched Cho's home and seized a Louis Vuitton bag into which he allegedly placed the cash received at the train station.

Cho has denied the allegations, saying he received only 5 million won from Rep. Hyun to cover his expenses during a Seoul trip aimed at collecting information on the nomination process.

The scandal has dealt a blow to the party and its leading presidential contender Park Geun-hye with the presidential election just four months away. Park was chief of the party when the alleged money exchange took place in March.

The Saenuri Party said Monday it has postponed a decision on whether to expel the two Hyuns, who appeared before prosecutors for questioning last week and flatly refuted the allegations.