More details in Choi, GNP bribery case

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More details in Choi, GNP bribery case

Fresh allegations surfaced yesterday that former communications regulator Choi See-joong had offered money to some lawmakers close to President Lee Myung-bak in 2008, according to local media and sources, which could deal yet another blow to the ruling party already mired in a corruption scandal.

Choi, considered one of the closest confidants of Lee, stepped down as the chief of the state-run Korea Communications Commission (KCC) last week, amid allegations that a former aide took a bribe from a businessman in return for favors. The weekly news magazine Sisa Journal’s latest edition quoted an anonymous Grand National Party lawmaker as saying that Choi gave him bags with 20 million won ($17,812) in cash in September 2008 as a present for the Korean thanksgiving holiday, Chuseok.

The lawmaker, who remained anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, claimed that two other GNP legislators close to Lee were offered 10 million won and 5 million, respectively, but they returned the money.

Choi denied the bribery allegations and refused to comment on the issue, according to Lee Tae-hee, the KCC spokeswoman. The former journalist was head of the state-run KCC since early 2008 after playing a key role in helping Lee’s election campaign.

His ex-aide, Jeong Yong-wook, is suspected of receiving nearly 200 million won from Kim Hak-in, chairman of a college-level vocational school focused on broadcasting careers. Kim is now under arrest on charges of embezzlement and tax evasion.

Jeong is also under suspicion of offering money to lawmakers belonging to the parliamentary committee on culture, sports, tourism and broadcasting after a controversial media bill was passed into law in July 2009.

Yonhap

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