Kepco vice president grilled in graft probe

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Kepco vice president grilled in graft probe

An ongoing investigation into the graft-stricken nuclear industry has now reached the Korea Electric Power Corporation, with its vice president being questioned by prosecutors about his involvement in a fake safety certificate scandal.

The Korea Electric Power Corporation is the parent company of the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation. The public company is in charge of confirming the certificates of parts that go in the country’s nuclear power plants.

A special investigation team at the Busan Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office probing the nuclear industry bribery scandal said yesterday that it had arrested Lee Jong-chan, the Kepco vice president in charge of the firm’s overseas business.

Prosecutors are now questioning him about suspicions he colluded with another bribed official at the nuclear power corporation in fabricating test results for nuclear plant parts.

They are planning to request a pre-trial detention warrant for Lee.

A hydro corporation official surnamed Song has already been indicted for ordering managers at parts suppliers to fabricate test results for cables used in nuclear plants in January 2008, after being bribed.

According to the JoongAng Ilbo, prosecutors have obtained testimony from Song that he had told Lee that cables provided by parts supplier JS Cable failed to pass tests. As such, investigators suspect Lee was aware that the safety certificates were fabricated, or that he even ordered subordinates to purchase bogus reactor parts.

The suspicion is that the two conspired on the fabrication scheme when they worked together making parts purchases for Kepco over a two-year period from 2010.

Investigators are also looking into whether Lee used his position to help industry firms land deals.

“We are looking into allegations that Lee colluded on the fabricated test results scheme and took kickbacks worth tens of millions of won,” said a prosecutor involved in the case.

BY WE SUNG-WOOK, KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

BY WE SUNG-WOOK, KANG JIN-KYU

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