The prosecution is set to indict two ruling party lawmakers and one from the opposition on charges of taking kickbacks as early as this week.
The three are Reps. Jo Hyun-yong and Park Sang-eun of the Saenuri Party and Rep. Kim Jae-yun of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, all of whom have been detained since Aug. 21 on allegations of bribe-taking.
Jo is suspected of receiving bribes worth 160 million won ($155,000) from railroad track component maker Sampyo E&C in return for using his position to help the company win contracts for a number of railway projects.
Park is under suspicion of receiving illicit funds, either from candidates who attempted to run in the June 4 local elections or from regional CEOs in the construction industry in Incheon. The prosecution has been striving to reveal the source of about 590 million won in cash that was found in Park’s sedan and at his son’s residence.
Kim has been accused of receiving kickbacks worth 50 million won in return for omitting the term “vocational” from the Korean name of Seoul Arts College.
In addition, the prosecution is considering indicting one more Saenuri and two more NPAD lawmakers on similar charges without detention.
Rep. Song Kwang-ho of the ruling Saenuri Party is suspected of taking 65 million won in bribes from railway parts supplier AVT in exchange for business favors. His arrest was subject to a parliamentary vote as lawmakers in Korea are immune from detention while the National Assembly is in session.
The National Assembly, however, vetoed the arrest of Song on Sept. 3, despite earlier pledges to strip lawmakers of their immunity from detention.
Prosecutors alleged that the NPAD’s Reps. Sin Geh-ryeun and Shin Hak-yong have also engaged in irregular deals with the chief of Seoul Arts College, along with their party colleague Rep. Kim Jae-yun. But the Seoul Central District Court earlier rejected the prosecutors’ proposal to issue arrest warrants for Sin and Shin.
Out of the three opposition lawmakers, the court has only issued the warrant for Kim, who has gone on a hunger strike to protest his detention. Kim earlier said he had not taken any bribe from the college.
The investigative authorities also appear to be considering making a second attempt to seek warrants for Sin and Shin.
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org)