Jun Byung-hun, a former presidential secretary for political affairs, denied the bribery allegations against him as he arrived at the prosecutors’ office for questioning on Monday.
Jun is suspected of receiving 330 million won ($300,000) in kickbacks from cable channel Lotte Homeshopping in 2015 in exchange for wielding influence to have the channel’s broadcasting license renewed. He resigned over the scandal Thursday.
“Once again, I say clearly that I never took part in anything illegal. I will fully explain myself to the prosecution regarding the suspicions and misunderstandings,” Jun told reporters before entering the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office Monday morning.
Ex-senior presidential secretary Jun Byung-hun is surrounded by reporters during his appearance at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on Monday. (Yonhap)
“I apologize for the lapses of my two former aides. … I feel terrible for causing trouble to the presidential office.”
Jun is the first high-ranking official in the Moon Jae-in administration to face corruption charges.
Jun’s two former aides were arrested on bribery charges on Nov. 10. In 2015, they allegedly pressured the home shopping channel to donate 330 million won to the Korea e-Sports Association, where Jun served as an honorary chairman.
Lotte Homeshopping is suspected of paying the game association in hopes that Jun, then a lawmaker sitting on the parliamentary committee in charge of media policies, would help renew its broadcasting license.
The prosecution suspects that Jun played a role in making the home shopping channel donate to an irrelevant, game-related organization.
He is also suspected of spending 110 million won in kickbacks for personal purposes. The prosecution is looking into whether Jun spent the association’s funds arbitrarily as he served as its chairman and honorary chairman.
The association’s secretary-general, surnamed Cho, was arrested on suspicion of conspiring with Jun’s aides to let them use the association’s credit card, and using the association’s funds to pay salaries to Jun’s secretary and intern while he was a lawmaker. The prosecution also found that Jun’s family used gift cards provided by Lotte Homeshopping.
The prosecution is expanding its probe as other home shopping companies or mobile carriers are suspected of donating huge sums to the association.
Prosecutors are considering seeking an arrest warrant for Jun after going over the evidence and Jun’s statements.
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com