Former police leaders are called in graft scandal

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Former police leaders are called in graft scandal

Prosecutors investigating an alleged influence-peddling and graft scandal involving former top-ranking police officials and a local businessman plan to summon former National Police Agency Commissioner Kang Hee-rak and former Korea Coast Guard Commissioner Lee Gil-beom for allegedly taking bribes from the businessman while in office.

Prosecutors at the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday that they sent summonses to Kang and Lee. Kang will appear for being questioned today and Lee is likely to be questioned by the prosecution as early as this week.

Though both Kang and Lee denied the accusations, prosecutors said they are mulling seeking warrants to arrest them because investigators found new evidence that Kang gave 40 million won ($35,539) to the businessman surnamed Yu and asked him to flee overseas.

Prosecutors alleged Kang tried to destroy evidence prior to Yu’s arrest.

“Yu testified to the prosecution that Kang gave him 40 million won and asked him to flee overseas and we’re currently verifying his argument,” a prosecutor said.

Yu, who runs makeshift worker cafeterias at construction sites, was indicted in November.

Prosecutors plan to summon other government officials who Yu told the prosecution that he bribed in return for favors.

According to media reports, Yu gave prosecutors the names of former police officials, heads of large construction companies, ruling and opposition party lawmakers, vice ministers and heads of state-run companies.

On Dec. 24, prosecutors barred Kang and Lee from traveling abroad. The travel bans follow an investigation into several major construction companies whose senior executives were indicted for allegedly taking bribes from Yu and then hiring him to run makeshift cafeterias at construction sites. Yu was indicted in November.

Prosecutors say that Yu admitted to giving Kang 100 million won to promote police officers who helped him win cafeteria contracts at construction sites.

According to prosecutors, Yu also admitted to giving 35 million won in bribes to Lee in return for helping him win cafeteria contracts with large construction companies.


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