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Presidential aide suspended over corruption allegations

A presidential aide was suspended Monday following allegations that he influenced a now-suspended savings bank to provide undue financial favors to his brother, an official said.

A local newspaper reported earlier that the chairman of Mirae Savings Bank had given the brother financial benefits worth about 10 billion won (US$8.6 million) after the presidential official asked for help in salvaging a bankrupt hospital the brother was running.

That raised suspicions that the illegal favors could have been part of a bribery campaign the savings bank chief carried out toward politicians and government officials to keep his troubled financial institution from being shut down.

The debt-ridden bank was ordered to close earlier this month, along with three other savings banks, and its chief, Kim Chan-kyong, has been under investigation for embezzlement and other irregularities after being arrested while attempting to sneak out of the country.

The aide, identified by his surname Kim, strongly denies suspicions that he exercised undue influence, but the presidential office decided to suspended him as there are circumstances that he asked for help in extending loans to his brother, a senior presidential official said. (Yonhap News)

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