The prosecution said Monday that it had launched an investigation into the allegation that a businessman, reportedly murdered by an associate of a Seoul City councilor in a contract killing case, bribed public officials.
Its action came after investigators discovered a memo allegedly written by the 67-year-old victim, identified by his surname Song.
According to the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office, the memo shows the names of both ruling and opposition party lawmakers who allegedly accepted funds from Song. In the memo were the names of some senior civil servants and the amount of money believed to have been delivered to them.
Further, an incumbent prosecutor has been placed under the prosecution’s scrutiny for allegedly taking kickbacks from Song. The name of the prosecutor and 2 million won ($1,950) were written side by side on a list of names and sums of money left by the businessman.
The prosecutor worked at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office between 2003 and 2005, during which he is believed to have received the money from Song. Investigators, however, declined to make public the suspect’s name.
The prosecutor was questioned over the past few days, but denied taking a bribe from Song. He said he only exchanged phone calls with Song after they met a couple of times in 2005.
Kim Hyung-sik, recently elected to the Seoul municipal council in the June local elections, was arrested last month on charges of hiring a hit man to kill Song.
The hit man, surnamed Paeng, told police Kim hired him after his arrest in May. Paeng confessed to murdering “Mr. Song,” a real estate magnate who allegedly gave Kim illicit political funds, according to police.
Song apparently gave Kim more than 500 million won in multiple payments from 2010 to 2011. Song “invested” in Kim because the councilor had promised to pass several bills at the Seoul City Council that would raise property prices in western Seoul, where Song owned a bulk of land.
But when Kim failed to pass the promised legislation, Song threatened to sabotage Kim’s election campaign in the recent local elections. Kim got nervous and hired Paeng to do his bidding, police said.
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org)