Prosecutors will consider pressing bribery charges against a Seoul metropolitan councilor already under arrest on suspicion of arranging a contract killing, law enforcement officials said Thursday.
Authorities found evidence suggesting Kim Hyung-sik, a municipal lawmaker elected in the recent June local elections, received “millions” of won from AVT, a railroad parts supplier.
Officials did not give details about the evidence, but prosecutors are looking into his bank account records for illicit money dealings between him and AVT.
The charges are expected to widen the investigation into a separate murder case involving the embattled city official.
Police had already arrested Kim last month for solicitation to commit murder.
Kim is alleged to have hired a hit man, surnamed Paeng, to kill one of his political financiers. Police say Paeng killed “Mr. Song,” a real estate millionaire, earlier this year on the condition that Kim write off a 70 million won ($69,000) debt that Paeng owed him.
Police suspect Kim wanted Song dead because the property magnate had been threatening to disrupt Kim’s campaign during last month’s local elections.
Song had given Kim about 500 million won in multiple payments between 2010 and 2011, according to police. In return, Kim apparently promised Song he would legislate bills in the city council that would raise the prices of some of Song’s properties.
But when Kim failed to pass the promised laws, Song began threatening to publicize their illicit deal before the June local elections.
Police found Song dead in his office in March, with multiple head wounds.
Police will finish their investigation and forward Kim’s case to prosecutors on Friday. Prosecutors are then expected to begin indictment proceedings.
Kim denies all charges.
Kim was elected to the Seoul City Council as a main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy candidate. The NPAD kicked Kim out of the party after his arrest.
NPAD officials say they will not readmit the councilor unless he is absolved of all charges.
Ruling Saenuri Party lawmakers on the other hand are pressuring law enforcement officials to speed up the investigation.
In another case unrelated to the city councilor’s murder-for-hire allegation, a former Saenuri Party spokesman surnamed Kwon has been accused of receiving bribes from AVT in 2012. Kwon was also expelled from his party on Thursday.
By Jeong Hunny (firstname.lastname@example.org