The fate of Rep. Chung Doo-un of the governing Saenuri Party depends on a judges’ ruling on Thursday ahead of the July 30 by-elections. The verdict from the Supreme Court could deprive Chung of his seat in the National Assembly.
Chung, a confidante of former President Lee Myung-bak, was indicted for taking bribes from a secondary bank chief. While he wassentenced to one year in prison and fined 104 million won ($102,000) by a Seoul district court, a Seoul appellate court’s commutation of that punishment enabled him to resume his Assembly tasks in November 2013.
If the Supreme Court on Thursday upholds the initial ruling, Chung will lose his seat one month ahead of the July by-elections.
During the 2007 presidential campaign, Chung Doo-un was indicted without detention for allegedly receiving a total of 440 million won from Lim Suk, then-head of the now-defunct Solomon Savings Bank.
Of that total, Chung is alleged to have received 30 million won from Lim in September 2007, with 100 million won delivered to his aide in March 2008 just before the National Assembly election.
This was followed by 300 million won in October of 2007 that Chung allegedly received at the request of former lawmaker Lee Sang-deuk, who is the older brother of ex-President Lee Myung-bak.
Further, Chung, a three-term lawmaker, was suspected of having received an additional 10 million won from Lim in April 2012.
This Thursday, the highest court is also scheduled to make its verdict on Lee Sang-deuk, who has finished his prison term over similar charges.
Lee was arrested for receiving hundreds of millions of won from two financial firms and a business group between 2007 and 2011.
A lower court sentenced Lee to two years in prison and fined him 750 million won. His sentence was commuted to one year and two months by a Seoul appellate court in July 2012.
Lee had asked the court to commute his sentence due to “poor health,” however the judge rejected his request. Chung had also been denied a similar request for an early release.
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org)