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Lawmakers grilled over art school graft

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Published : 2014-08-14 21:28
Updated : 2014-08-14 21:55

Two more opposition lawmakers were grilled by the prosecution on Thursday on suspicion of taking bribes from a local art college in return for making regulation changes to benefit the institution.

The New Politics Alliance for Democracy lawmakers ― Reps. Kim Jae-yun and Shin Hak-yong ― are suspected of taking bribes from Seoul Art College, or SAC, in exchange for making a law revision at the request of the school’s chairman of the board Kim Min-seong.

Kim Jae-yun is accused of receiving 50 million won ($49,000), while Shin Hak-yong is suspected of receiving bribes of about 15 million won, including 3 million won in gift vouchers.

“I don’t even know about the suspicions. (The truth) is different to media reports,” Kim Jae-yun told reporters before entering the prosecutors’ office.

He denied that he received any money from the institution, but said he could see why the suspicion was raised against him.

Regarding the prosecution reportedly having secured hard evidence of the crime, Kim rejected the idea, saying that his innocence would be proven.

“I will answer with hard evidence. (The prosecution’s) questions will be answered with evidence. The truth will come out.”

As for Shin Hak-yong, he denied he played a part in proposing the revision, and said only that he would answer the questions faithfully and apologized for causing controversy. Shin declined to answer questions about his relationship with Kim Min-seong and why he received gift vouchers from him. 
New Politics Alliance for Democracy’s Rep. Shin Hak-yong answers journalists’ questions before entering the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office in southern Seoul on Thursday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

The prosecution suspects that Kim Jae-yun and Shin Hak-yong received the bribes between September, when the revision was proposed, and its approval in April.

With the two appearing for questioning, all three NPAD lawmakers linked to the case have now been grilled by the investigators. NPAD’s Rep. Shin Geh-ryeun, who was the lead legislator in the revision, was questioned Tuesday. Shin Geh-ryeun is suspected to have taken 50 million won from Kim Min-seong.

The three lawmakers are suspected of receiving bribes to push the revision of the Act on the Development of Workplace Skills of Workers. The revision, which was approved in April, allows vocational training institutions to remove the word vocational from their name.

The SAC removed the word vocational from its name soon after the revised law went into force on June 21.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)

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