중앙데일리

Tax chief resigns, is detained and pleads innocence

Nov 07,2007
BUSAN ― Jun Gun-pyo resigned yesterday from his post as Korea’s highest tax official just ahead of an order detaining him for investigation on charges related to a bribery scandal.
The Busan District Court yesterday accepted the prosecutors’ argument that the 53-year-old head of the National Tax Service may try to destroy evidence ahead of an investigation over his alleged acceptance of a bribe from an employee.
According to the detention warrant, Jun received bribes on five occasions, beginning on July 18, 2006, the day he became head of the tax service.
Jun continued to plead innocence yesterday.
“I wanted to be cleared of the charges as head of the tax service, but I am being detained,” Jun told journalists shortly before he was detained. “I believe pre-trial detention does not necessarily mean a conviction. I believe I will be cleared at trial. I stepped down earlier in case the court ordered the detention.”
“The prosecution provided sufficient grounds to lay out the charges,” Judge Go Yeong-tae of the Busan District Court, who issued the warrant last night, said. “The charges are serious enough to issue a warrant for detention, and the accused is likely to make attempts to destroy evidence because witnesses are under the chain of his command.”
If Jun is convicted of all charges, he faces at least seven years in prison.
With the warrant, the prosecution escorted Jun to the Busan Detention Center last night.
Jun is suspected of receiving a total of 50 million won ($55,078) and $10,000 in cash from July last year to January this year in five payments from a subordinate who had sought to buy a promotion. Chung Sang-gon, then the head of the tax office in Busan, testified earlier that he paid the bribes to Jun.
At Jun’s order, Lee Byeong-dae, the current head of the Busan tax office, had visited Chung, who is already in detention, and tried to persuade him not to testify against Jun, prosecutors have said. Lee met with Chung twice, on Aug. 20 and in early September, the prosecution has said.
Chung was detained on Aug. 9 on charges of receiving bribes from real estate developer Kim Sang-jin. Kim was seeking to ease a tax probe on his company. A former Blue House aide was also recently detained on charges of receiving bribes from Kim in return for arranging a meeting with tax officials.
Prosecutor Chong Dong-min said the evidence was strong and that Jun should confess and seek leniency.


By Ser Myo-ja Staff Writer/ Jung Hyo-sik JoongAng Ilbo



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