Diaries show former Daegu prosecutor got bribes

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Diaries show former Daegu prosecutor got bribes

Police revealed evidence yesterday showing that a local businessman gave bribes to Shin Jong-dae, former chief prosecutor of the Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office, just days after Shin resigned.

The Jeonnam Provincial Police Agency said it confiscated 13 diaries in April from the house of the businessman, surnamed Gwak, which listed names of people he bribed since 2004 as well as the amount of money he gave to them and the dates and places where money changed hands. Gwak, 62, gave 14 million won ($12,629) in total to Shin from October 2006 to October of this year, according to the diaries.

Police took possession of the diaries while investigating Gwak, who was running a construction company in Yeosu, South Jeolla, on suspicion of illegally using 23 unlicensed subcontractors in some construction projects over the past three years.

Shin stepped down on Friday, just about two months after he was nominated for the chief prosecutor position in August.

Shin was under investigation by police on suspicion of receiving bribes from the businessman. He said that personal reasons, including having to take care of his sick parents, pushed him to resign, but rumors spread that the former chief quit because of a graft scandal.

Police also found that Gwak gave money to four or five former politicians, according to the diaries, and said they confirmed that Gwak transferred millions of won to their accounts between 2000 and September 2006.

“There are no current politicians listed in the diary and all of the [former] politicians listed ... have close relations with Gwak,” a police official told Yonhap News Agency.

Three professors of a private university are also listed in the diary as having received money in 2006 in exchange for writing Gwak’s graduate school thesis. Police will question the professors soon.

However, despite the evidence, police said they would likely have to close a number of the cases because Gwak did not write why he gave the bribes and because the statute of limitations on some of the transactions has expired.

But local media reported that the prosecution could have pressured the police to stop investigating, at least when it comes to Shin’s case.

Prosecutors and police have recently been involved in turf battles over each authority’s investigative powers.

Gwak was one of 200 aides to former President Kim Young-sam, who publicly supported frontrunner Lee Myung-bak during his presidential campaign in June 2007.

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