Hyun indicted for allegedly taking bribes in LCT probe

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Hyun indicted for allegedly taking bribes in LCT probe

Former senior presidential secretary Hyun Ki-hwan was indicted on Monday for alleged acceptance of bribes, acceptance of bribes for mediation and violation of the Political Funds Act.

But prosecutors came out empty-handed on his alleged lobbying of officials on behalf of Cheongan Construction CEO Lee Young-bok, indicted under charges of embezzling and violation of the Housing Act.

Hyun is accused of receiving some 430 million won ($362,840) as bribes from Lee and others, according to Yun Dae-jin, senior prosecutor at the Busan District Prosecutors’ Office.

According to Yun, Hyun made Lee pay for 31.6 million won worth of drinks from September of last year to June, while Hyun was the senior presidential secretary for political affairs for President Park Geun-hye. Hyun was a lawmaker from 2008 to 2012, and a senior presidential secretary from July 2015 to June this year.

According to the prosecution, Hyun also received from Lee some 140 million won from 2011 to July last year, via gift cards and by using a corporate credit card of a company tied to Lee. The prosecution added that Hyun is also accused of receiving 100 million won from an acquaintance who is running another development project in Busan, in January 2013. According to Yun, the acquaintance handed over the money to Hyun with a request to help him lobby the Busan city government and the Busan Metropolitan Corporation.

Hyun received an additional 31 million won from the acquaintance from July this year, according to Yun. The acquaintance reportedly paid for Hyun’s lease of a Genesis and his chauffeur, as well as for some of his credit card bills. Yun added that Hyun was treated to some 173 million won worth of drinks and golfing from another acquaintance from May 2013 to July last year.

Hyun was also accused of lending Lee 3 billion won and receiving 5 billion won in checks in return. Allegations that he attempted to launder the money by lending it to others also surfaced during the probe. Lee’s first trial is scheduled to be held at the Busan District Court on Wednesday. He is alleged to have embezzled some 70.5 billion won in developing a lavish residential and commercial complex called LCT. At the time of his indictment, prosecutors could not find evidence that he lobbied public officials with the embezzled funds.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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