Prosecution calls DUP’s leader for questioning

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Prosecution calls DUP’s leader for questioning

A spreading investigation into ties between top politicians and troubled savings banks touched a heavyweight of the main opposition party yesterday as the prosecution summoned Representative Park Jie-won, floor leader of the Democratic United Party, to show up for questioning tomorrow.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office asked Park yesterday to appear at 10 a.m. tomorrow. While the prosecutors accused the 70-year-old, three-term lawmaker of receiving bribes from two banks, Park denied the charges and said he won’t submit to the questioning.

Earlier yesterday, Park made a preemptive move to attack the prosecution before it summoned him. Pleading innocence of graft allegations before lawmakers, Park accused the prosecution of conducting a politically motivated probe against him.

At the National Assembly, Park gave a speech as floor leader of the main opposition party to lay out the DUP’s visions for the 19th National Assembly. The veteran politician used the opportunity to talk about the impending investigation against him.

“The prosecution’s politically motivated probe against the opposition party before the presidential election will never succeed,” Park said. “I can swear on my life, I have never received money or requests from any savings banks.

“What the prosecutors should investigate now is the allegation of illegal campaign funds of President Lee Myung-bak,” Park said.

Following suspicions that the country’s troubled savings banks bribed top politicians and government officials to stay afloat, the prosecution has created a joint investigation team.

Lee Sang-deuk, the president’s elder brother, was detained on charges of receiving bribes from two savings banks, while Saenuri Party Representative Chung Doo-un was accused of being his accomplice.

A motion to approve Chung’s arrest, however, was turned down by the legislature last week, creating a large political commotion.

It remains to be seen if Park will face a similar vote at the legislature as the prosecution made public its plan to question him.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office has been looking into an allegation that executives of Bohae Mutual Savings Bank paid up to 70 million won ($61,250) to Park.

By Ser Myo-ja []
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