Police changing tack in Wonju case

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Police changing tack in Wonju case

Having a hard time finding evidence and obtaining testimony from people related to the Wonju sex-for-influence case, the police are changing the direction of its investigation.

Instead, they are trying to pin down bribes the 51-year-old contractor surnamed Yoon gave to government officials as evidence.

Yoon has been suspected of offering sex bribes to influential people at a vacation home in Wonju, Gangwon, over two years.

Sources in the police said yesterday that they have found indications that Yoon has been bribing some influential people for years in order to win small- and large-scale construction contracts.

“The sex video file is only the tip of an iceberg,” a spokesman for the police told the JoongAng Ilbo. “We are investigating whether Yoon has bribed government officials and other people related to his business.”

The police said last week they secured a two-minute sex video that is believed to contain scenes of high-ranking government officials having a sex party with women but has failed to identify who the men in the video actually are due to the poor quality of the video.

The police also said a university student surnamed Choi has testified that she had sex with Kim Hak-eui, who resigned as vice minister of the Ministry of Justice a week ago after being charged in the scandal, but also has failed to prove the allegation as they failed to produce enough substantial evidence.

The police suspect that Yoon joined as a partner of a construction company in a golf course construction project in Hongcheon, Gangwon, in 2008 by getting the stamp of approval from the Gangwon government.

The construction company’s project wasn’t approved due to a problem related to land use alteration, but Yoon, who had close relationships with high-ranking government officials, solved the problem.

The golf course project, however, wasn’t launched due to the opposition of a military base that was located close to the projected golf course plot, but the police said they have found some traces that Yoon bribed government officials.

In 2006, the police said, Yoon also borrowed about 20 billion won ($18 million) from a savings bank in Seoul for a reconstruction project in Mokdong, northwestern Seoul.

The reconstruction project also wasn’t launched after facing strong opposition from local residents.

But the police suspect that it is an odd move for Yoon to borrow a large sum of money from a bank even before the project was slated to begin and are investigating whether Yoon’s loan was illegal.

“We know that some people worry about our recent investigation result over the sex-for-influence case,” an investigator told the JoongAng Ilbo. “But the sex video file accounts for less than 1 percent of Yoon’s entire case.”

By Chung Kang-hyun, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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