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Court questions ex-lawmaker to determine arrest over bribery in development scandal

This file photo shows Rep. Kwak Sang-do of the People Power Party. (Yonhap)
This file photo shows Rep. Kwak Sang-do of the People Power Party. (Yonhap)
A Seoul court questioned a former opposition lawmaker Wednesday to determine whether to approve an arrest warrant for him on charges of accepting bribes in the form of severance pay for his son from an asset firm at the center of a massive development corruption scandal.

Kwak Sang-do quit the main opposition People Power Party and ultimately gave up his parliamentary seat following revelations that his son received 5 billion won ($4.2 million) in severance pay from Hwacheon Daeyu Asset Management.

Prosecutors suspect the money was a bribe to Kwak.

In the arrest warrant, however, prosecutors accused him of accepting 2.5 billion won, the actual amount given to his son after tax was deducted from the total.

In return, prosecutors suspect Kwak offered business favors to Hwacheon Daeyu while serving as head of the state-run Korea Legal Aid Corp. in 2015.

Kwak has denied all allegations against him.

The Seoul Central District Court is expected to make a decision on the warrant later in the day.

Hwacheon Daeyu has been under investigation over its astronomical profits reaped from a lucrative apartment development project in the Daejang-dong district of Seongnam City, south of Seoul.

The scandal has received intense media coverage amid questions about its potential impact on next year's presidential election.

The PPP has claimed Lee Jae-myung, the ruling party's presidential candidate who served as Seongnam mayor when the development project was launched in 2015, was behind the whole scheme. (Yonhap)
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