A ruling party lawmaker appeared before prosecutors Wednesday to face questioning over suspicions that he received bribes from a local train parts supplier in exchange for business favors.
Rep. Cho Hyun-ryong of the ruling Saenuri Party is under suspicion of taking bribes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from Sampyo E&C in return for awarding the private company contracts since August 2008, prosecutors said.
Cho showed up at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office in southern Seoul at around 9:50 a.m. to face questioning as a criminal suspect in the snowballing bribery investigation.
"I will sincerely respond to the prosecution investigation,"
the sitting lawmaker told reporters before entering the prosecution office.
Asked whether he denies the charges brought against him, Cho said, "Yes."
The alleged bribery occurred while the lawmaker was heading the Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA), the state-run railway construction company in charge of awarding contracts, and working as a member of the parliamentary land, transport and maritime affairs committee.
Under the contract inked in 2011, Sampyo E&C was to supply concrete panels to be placed beneath rail tracks on a stretch of
the Jungang Line to provide stability.
The Korea Railroad Corporation, which operates the Jungang Line, however, found cracks between the panels, stoking concerns that faulty parts were used.
The prosecution office said it plans to seek an arrest warrant for the embattled lawmaker after wrapping up the questioning.
The prosecution suspects that the bribes were received while Cho was seeking to be a proportional representative nominee of the Saenuri Party.
Cho was elected to the parliament on the party's proportional ticket in general elections in April 2012, just eight months after he resigned as the KRNA chief. (Yonhap)