Prosecutors indict Kwak’s former campaign rival

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Prosecutors indict Kwak’s former campaign rival

Prosecutors yesterday indicted Park Myong-gee, the professor who allegedly received 200 million won ($180,962) from the superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education to withdraw from last year’s race, on charges of violating the Local Education Autonomy Act and the Public Official Election Act.

Park, 53, was a leading candidate in the June 2010 race for Seoul education superintendent before bowing out two weeks before the election.

Superintendent Kwak No-hyun, who is currently in custody, won the election as the single liberal candidate.

According to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, Kwak allegedly promised Park money and a high-ranking position in the city’s education office if Park agreed to abandon his candidacy.

While Kwak has admitted to giving the 200 million won to Park, he has maintained that the money was help to retire Park’s debts out of “goodwill” and not related to the race.

Prosecutors yesterday questioned Kwak once again about the source of the money given to Park. Kwak’s wife, who has also been questioned by prosecutors, reportedly said that half of the 200 million won was hers with the rest of the money borrowed from Kwak’s friend.

Kwak has refused to comment on the source of the money, saying Friday at a warrant hearing: “My friend who lent me the money asked not to reveal his or her identity.”

Kwak, 57, was arrested on Saturday after prosecutors asked a court for an arrest warrant. The superintendent is permitted to continue his duties from jail, signing documents on the city’s education affairs, unless he is indicted.

Prosecutors said they planned to indict Kwak in the next week. If Kwak is indicted, the vice superintendent will take over Kwak’s duties until a final ruling.

By Kim Hee-jin []
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