Police ask for travel ban on suspects in sex bribe case

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Police ask for travel ban on suspects in sex bribe case

Police said yesterday they have requested the Ministry of Justice place a travel ban on those government officials and people implicated in the sex-for-influence case involving a vacation home in Wonju, Gangwon.

The National Police Agency (NPA) is investigating the case involving a 51-year-old contractor surnamed Yoon, who is suspected of offering sex bribes to influential people over two years at his vacation home in Wonju.

The NPA requested the Justice Ministry prohibit about 10 government officials and people related with the case, including Kim Hak-eui, who resigned from his vice minister post at the Justice Ministry on March 21 after being implicated in the case, from leaving the country on Wednesday.

Kim is suspected of visiting Wonju between March 2008 and January 2009 when he was the chief prosecutor of the Chuncheon District Prosecutors’ Office in Gangwon.

Others, including the director of a general hospital and a former executive-level official of the Board of Audit and Inspection, were requested to be grounded by the police as well.

The police said the accused will be under investigation as official suspects if the Justice Ministry approves the police’s request.

Sources in the police said on Wednesday 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.

“This means that the police will aggressively trace Yoon’s bribe attempts to those people banned from leaving the country,” a spokesman for the police said. “The police are confident they will prove Yoon’s bribe allegations.”

The request is currently under review by the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office before being sent to the Justice Ministry.

The police said last week they secured a two-minute video that is believed to contain scenes of high-ranking government officials having a sex party in Wonju 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 are trying to pin down bribes Yoon gave to government officials instead of finding evidence and obtaining testimony from people related to the sex party.

The police also found the phone numbers of around a dozen prosecutors and police officers on Yoon’s mobile phone.

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