The prosecution said on Tuesday it would seek parliamentary approval for an arrest warrant for ruling Saenuri Party Rep. Park Sang-eun, who is suspected of taking massive illicit funds not only from local companies but also from candidates who attempted to run for previous local elections.
Under the Constitution and the National Assembly Act, the arrest of incumbent lawmakers during a working session must be approved by a majority of lawmakers.
Investigators at the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office said they planned to request the National Assembly approve the detainment of Rep. Park as soon as possible, stressing that he faced more than 10 serious criminal allegations and the investigations needed to be carried out with the lawmaker detained.
The second-term lawmaker is under suspicion of taking illicit funds either from candidates who attempted to run in the June 4 local elections or from local construction companies based in the western port city of Incheon.
The prosecution has been tracing the source of the 630 million won ($611,000) that was found in cash in Park’s car and at his son’s residence.
The prosecution believes that he had converted illicit funds in a borrowed name bank account into cash and later concealed the money at his son’s home. Park has denied the allegations, saying that the money was given by the founder of a company where he worked for years as part of his retirement package.
The prosecution has been zeroing in on Rep. Park over whether he received bribes from Incheon-based maritime companies in recent years. Rep. Park, a two-term lawmaker, was reelected to a constituency in Incheon.
He has allegedly maintained a cozy relationship with shipping and construction firms doing business in the region.
The lawmaker served as vice chairman of the Sea Power League of the Republic of Korea, a nonprofit organization launched to support the government’s maritime policies, and cochairman of a parliamentary forum on maritime economy.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)