Three cleared in Mercedes love triangle scandal

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Three cleared in Mercedes love triangle scandal

Prosecutors have cleared three people of receiving bribes from a former prosecutor at the center of the so-called Mercedes-Benz love triangle scandal, including a sitting judge.

A special prosecution team that has been investigating the scandal since earlier this month announced the results of its investigation results in Busan yesterday. They cleared some people of allegations that they had received bribes from a former prosecutor identified as Choi.

But on the same day, they indicted the three main figures in the scandal: Choi, the 49-year-old prosecutor-turned-lawyer and alleged bribe giver; Lee, a 36-year old female former prosecutor who allegedly received a Mercedes-Benz sedan and a Chanel purse worth 5.4 million won ($4,677) from Choi, who was her lover, to persuade another prosecutor to swing a case in Choi’s favor; and a 39-year-old female college lecturer surnamed Lee, who blew the whistle on Choi, who was her lover too, to break up his relationship with the prosecutor Lee.

Choi was indicted for violating the Attorneys-at-Law Act. The former prosecutor Lee was indicted for receiving bribes. The lecturer Lee was indicted for fraud.

According to prosecutors, Choi told his lecturer-lover that he had bribed a judge and two other prosecutors.

The judge who was accused of accepting the bribes from Choi is surnamed Yoon, 50. Allegedly, Yoon received seven bottles of wine worth 1.1 million won and expensive meals worth 600,000 won, and 500,000 won worth of department store gift certificates. Prosecutors said they confirmed the gifts of wine and meals from Choi but couldn’t pin them down as bribes. They discount the allegations of the gift certificates.

“We’ve notified the Supreme Court to punish Yoon,” said Lee Chang-jae, the chief investigator of the special prosecution team.

A high-ranking prosecutor in the Busan district office surnamed Lee was suspected of receiving golf clubs worth 700,000 won from Choi and a luxury wallet, but prosecutors said it was also hard to pin them down as bribes because the golf clubs are missing and the wallet is being used by Choi.

Another prosecutor was accused of being paid by Choi to help get a promotion for his lover Lee, but it was false.

By Kwon Sang-soo []
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