Legislators to be quizzed on suspect payments

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Legislators to be quizzed on suspect payments

Two representatives of the Saenuri Party suspected of illegally receiving bribes, will be summoned by the prosecution for questioning.

“Prosecutors have investigated Representatives Cho Hyun-yong and Park Sang-eun and some media have reported that they are reluctant to appear before the prosecution,” said the ruling party’s chairman, Kim Moo-sung, at the party’s supreme council meeting yesterday. “I have met them in person and checked; they are not going to avoid the investigation.”

The prosecution suspects that Cho received hundreds of millions of won (hundreds of thousands of dollars) from Sampyo E&C, a railway track manufacturing company and component supplier, in return for directing contracts to the company while he was chairman of the Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA) from August 2008 to August 2011.

He is also suspected, prosecutors said, of accepting bribes even after he was elected as a lawmaker in April 2012. As an assemblyman, he has been a member of the Land Infrastructure and Transport Committee, the oversight body of the KRNA.

Two of Cho’s aides have already been questioned by prosecutors for allegedly serving as conduits for Sampyo E&C’s payments to Cho.

The prosecution launched an investigation of Park after his chauffeur tipped off the authorities in June about 30 million won in cash, saying it might be an illegal political slush fund. Another 600 million won in cash was later found in a search of the house of Park’s son. Park insisted the money was acquired from his former job.

Prosecutors also reportedly questioned an official of a steel manufacturer on July 4 after learning that Park accepted support payments from 20 to 30 unloading companies and steel manufacturers in Incheon.

Park’s aide waffled yesterday. “We did not say he would appear tomorrow,” said an aide, Jo Hyeon-sang. “He may soon begin a trip for the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee.”

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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