Prosecutor’s brother focus of conflict

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Prosecutor’s brother focus of conflict

Police and prosecutors are squabbling again over an alleged bribery case involving a local tax office chief, whose older brother is a senior prosecutor.

For over a year, a running battle has been waged between police and prosecutors over the criminal procedural code, which was revised in January 2012 to give the prosecution jurisdiction over all police investigations. As a result, they keep finding cases of crooked people in the other side’s ranks to cause trouble for the other.

In the latest case, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said Saturday that they have requested the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office to file a warrant to detain a 56-year-old man surnamed Yoon, former chief of the Yongsan District Tax Office in central Seoul.

Yoon is accused of receiving about 80 million won ($72,000) from 2010 to 2011, while he was chief of Seongdong District Tax Office in northeastern Seoul and Yeongdeungpo District Tax Office in southwestern Seoul, from a meat importer surnamed Kim, 55, according to police. The bribes were given on 20 separate occasions in the form of cash (20 million won) and free golf games (worth 60 million won) so the meat importer wouldn’t have his taxes audited, police said.

The prosecution rejected the request.

“The police need to submit more detailed evidence,” a spokesman of the prosecution said yesterday.

The police said they have been investigating Yoon for almost a year and that he has fled overseas last August when he was summoned by the police a second time. The police put Yoon on a wanted list and requested cooperation from Interpol in November.

Yoon was arrested by police in Thailand for being there illegally on April 19 and was sent back to Korea on Thursday.

“Yoon is the older brother of a senior prosecutor,” a spokesman of the police told the JoongAng Ilbo. “That is also the reason the prosecution rejected our request for warrants six times to raid a golf club in Incheon where Yoon played free golf.”

“We reviewed the investigation report more carefully than other cases in order to avoid suspicions that we are covering up irregularities of our colleague’s brother,” a spokesman of the prosecution said.

“We also didn’t want the public to suspect that the prosecution is interrupting the police investigation over the criminal investigation jurisdiction issue.”

The police said they will decide whether to make another request to the prosecution after investigating Yoon and Kim a bit more. “We have a strong belief that they have committed a crime,” a police officer investigating the case said.

The two agencies have been butting heads over several cases since the criminal procedural code was revised.

By Shim Sae-rom, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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