School chief questioned on his ‘good will’ gift

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School chief questioned on his ‘good will’ gift

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Reporters swarm around Kwak No-hyun, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday as he was summoned for questioning over the accusation that he bribed a campaign rival to bow out of the race. [NEWSIS]

Kwak No-hyun, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, was questioned yesterday over the accusation that he bribed a campaign rival to bow out of the race.

According to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, the questioning centered on why Kwak gave 200 million won ($187,213) to Park Myong-gee, a leading candidate in the June 2010 Seoul superintendent election, who withdrew his candidacy two weeks before the voting.

When reporters asked how he felt before questioning, Kwak said, “I’m sorry to many people for causing concerns. Staking my all ethics, I will tell the truth about this misinterpretation of my good will as a crime.”

Kwak, 57, has admitted giving Park 200 million won, but said it was to help him with debts.

Prosecutors said they would ask Kwak the source of the 200 million won and whether he used it to bribe Park to withdraw his candidacy.

Prosecutors say that Kwak’s best friend, Kang Kyung-seon, allegedly gave the money to Park’s younger brother in four installments from February to April, and 30 million won was withdrawn from a bank account of Kwak’s wife. She and Kang have also been questioned by prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Park has confessed that he took in the money in exchange for dropping out of the race and that Kwak promised him a high-ranking position in the city’s Education Office. Park is now in the custody of prosecutors.

Prosecutors were also to ask Kwak whether he knew his aide secretly negotiated with Park’s aide to ensure that the liberal parties could unite behind a single candidate in the race. One of Kwak’s aides told the local media Friday that Kwak didn’t know anything about the secret negotiation until last October and was furious when he was told.

However, according to the prosecutors’ investigation and notes taken by Park, Kwak knew about the secret negotiations, prosecutors said.

If a court issues an arrest warrant for Kwak, the vice superintendent will take over his duties until Kwak is tried. If a court doesn’t issue a warrant, Kwak can continue working.

If Kwak is convicted and loses his job, a by-election will be held on Oct. 26 - the same day as a by-election for Seoul’s mayor - and he would be forced to return 3.52 billion won in 2010 campaign expenses reimbursed by the National Election Commission.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

“곽노현, 2억 중 1억 직접 마련”

검찰, 오늘 재소환 뒤 사전영장

곽노현(57) 서울시교육감의 ‘단일화 뒷거래’ 의혹을 수사 중인 서울중앙지검 공안1부는 5일 곽 교육감을 피의자 신분으로 불러 조사한 뒤 돌려보냈다. 검찰은 곽 교육감을 한 차례 더 소환한 뒤 공직선거법상 후보자 매수 및 이해유도 혐의로 사전구속영장을 청구할 방침이다.

 검찰 관계자는 “곽 교육감이 체력적인 이유를 들어 밤 12시 이후에 조사를 받는 걸 원치 않았다”고 말했다. 검찰은 곽 교육감을 상대로 지난해 교육감 선거에서 후보 단일화 상대였던 박명기(53·구속) 서울교대 교수에게 준 2억원의 대가성을 조사했다. 검찰은 2억원 중 1억원은 곽 교육감이 지인들에게 빌려 현금으로 직접 마련한 것으로 보고 출처를 캐물었다.

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