Lee’s aide shows receipt rebuffing SLS bribe charge

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Lee’s aide shows receipt rebuffing SLS bribe charge


Left: Lee Kuk-chul, chairman of the SLS Group, drags a traveler’s bag yesterday into the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. Lee claims that evidence he brought in the suitcase will prove he bribed some senior government officials.
Right: Park Young-june, former vice minister of knowledge economy, holds a press conference yesterday to refute Lee’s bribery accusation against him. [NEWSIS]

A former key aide to President Lee Myung-bak yesterday held a press conference to refute a corruption allegation by a convicted businessman, producing evidence to disprove the graft claims.

“I have not received any entertainment paid for by the SLS Group,” Park Young-june, former vice minister of knowledge economy, said yesterday at the press conference.

Lee Kuk-chul, chairman of the midsized company SLS Group, who was convicted last year of fraud and lobbying, told the media last month that, for 10 years, he gave money regularly to top members of the Lee administration.

Park was among four presidential aides allegedly bribed by Lee. Lee claimed that during a trip to Japan in 2009, when Park was working for the Prime Minister’s Office, SLS’s Japan office paid for an expensive evening at a bar for Park. Lee said the amount was at least 4 to 5 million won ($3,396 to $4,254).

While admitting that he had drinks with an SLS executive in a bar in Tokyo on May 22, 2009, Park said yesterday that a friend of his named Kang paid the bill, and he produced a receipt.

“At the time, Kang, whom I have know for 10 years, paid for the drinks,” Park said.

According to Park, Kang, another public servant and the SLS executive drank at a bar in Tokyo after Park’s official schedule with the prime minister ended.

The receipt showed that the bill was paid at 21:29 p.m. on May 22, 2009, and the amount was 161,900 yen ($2,100). To protect his friend’s privacy, Park did not make disclose Kang’s full name, the credit card number or the name of the bar.

“I saw with my own eyes that my friend was paying, and I recently obtained the record,” Park said. “My friend was a former executive of Korean Air, and he was working for Hanjin International Japan at the time.”

Park added that Kang had already presented the evidence to the prosecution to disprove Lee’s accusation.

Asked why the SLS executive joined the Tokyo meeting, Park said he was introduced to him by another public servant that night. Park denied having any additional contacts with the executive.

“And I have also never met Chairman Lee Kuk-chul,” Park said. “He is a total stranger, and I have never even spoken to him on the phone.”

He also criticized the opposition parties for using Lee’s claims to attack him. “They made about 90 accusations against me, but nothing was confirmed,” Park said. “I hope they refrain from making groundless claims.”

SLS Chairman Lee appeared at the prosecution yesterday to submit to an investigation. He was first questioned on Sept. 23.

Lee arrived with a suitcase and a briefcase, presumably containing records of his bribes to top government officials.

In addition to Park, Lee claimed that he had provided more than 1 billion won worth of gifts and money to Shin Jae-min, former vice minister of culture, sports and tourism, over the past decade, since Shin was a journalist. Lee also claimed that he had provided gift certificates to Kwak Seung-jun, chairman of the Presidential Council for Future and Vision, and Lim Jae-hyeon, Blue House secretary for policy promotion, through Shin.

Park, Kwak and Lim have all filed defamations cases against Lee.

Known as a close adviser to both President Lee and his elder brother, Representative Lee Sang-deuk, Park has faced a series of allegations throughout the Lee administration. He was the alleged mastermind of the “Yeongpo-gate” surveillance scandal, in which the Prime Minister’s Office’s ethics team was involved in illegal surveillance of a businessman critical of the president.

Since the launch of the Lee administration, Park served in key posts. He worked as a strategy secretary for the Blue House from February to June 2008. He was vice minister for government policy at the Prime Minister’s Office from January 2009 to August 2010 and served as the vice minister of knowledge economy from August 2010 to May 2011. He resigned from the post to run in next year’s legislative elections.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

이국철, 증거 한보따리 ? … 여행가방 들고 검찰 출석

신재민(53) 전 문화체육관광부 차관 등에게 금품을 제공했다고 주장한 이국철(49) SLS그룹 회장이 3일 검찰에 다시 나왔다. 이 회장은 지난달 23일 검찰 조사를 받았고 이번이 두 번째 출석이다.

양복 차림의 이 회장은 각종 자료를 담은 검은색 여행가방과 손가방을 들고 이날 오전 9시50분쯤 서울 서초동 서울중앙지검 청사에 도착했다. 그는 기자들에게 “신 전 차관이 사용한 회사 법인카드 사용명세자료와 박영준 전 지식경제부 차관을 일본 출장 중 접대한 SLS그룹 일본법인 지사장 권모씨의 연락처 등을 검찰에 제출하겠다”며 “신 전 차관이 카드를 대부분 면세점에서 썼기 때문에 금방 확인할 수 있다”고 말했다.

 그는 앞서 신 전 차관에게 10년여 동안 10억원 이상의 돈을 제공했고 그를 통해 곽승준 미래기획위원장, 임재현 대통령실 비서관에게 5000만원 상당의 상품권을 전달했다고 주장했다.
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