Investigators seek arrest warrant in ‘Grandeur case’

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Investigators seek arrest warrant in ‘Grandeur case’

A special prosecution team reinvestigating the “Grandeur case,” in which a prosecutor was investigated on suspicion of taking a Hyundai Grandeur luxury sedan from a friend in return for lobbying a colleague to look after the friend’s legal case in 2008, yesterday sought an arrest warrant for the former prosecutor, surnamed Jeong.

The special investigation team said yesterday that it filed two new charges against Jeong. Prosecutors said Jeong allegedly gave his used Hyundai Sonata to a friend, surnamed Kim, a construction company owner, after Kim bought Jeong a Hyundai Grandeur in January 2009.

Prosecutors said the retail price of the Grandeur is about 34 million won ($29,863) and that the market value of Kim’s used car is 4 million won.

Investigators said Jeong also received a total of 16 million won in cash on different occasions from Kim from May 2008 to October 2009.

“Jeong said he borrowed money from Kim to buy the Grandeur sedan, but the prosecution team rejected Jeong’s argument because it was discovered that Jeong had received cash both before and after he received the sedan,” Kang Chan-woo, a chief prosecutor of the special investigation team, said in a press briefing yesterday. “Jeong has conceded to the results of the new investigation.”

Kang said the prosecution will indict Kim on charges of offering bribes to Jeong.

Kim, the company owner, sued four investors over apartment development rights in June 2007 and the case was handed to Jeong’s colleague, surnamed Do, in 2008. Jeong asked Do to look after the case that same year. Four investors were indicted in June 2008 but they were eventually cleared of charges in September 2009.

The “Grandeur case,” which raised doubts about prosecutors’ ethics, broke in April 2009 when the four investors filed a complaint with the prosecution. In the complaint, they asked for an investigation into Jeong and Do after they learned Jeong received the luxury sedan from construction company owner Kim.

The Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office last month appointed Kang to lead the new investigation into the case.

In July, Jeong was cleared of charges by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, leading to criticism that prosecutors were too lenient in investigating the case.

Jeong’s colleague was investigated for abuse of authority but was also cleared of charges at the time.

Jeong has had his own legal practice since he quit his position in July


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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