A former aide of presidential secretary arrested

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A former aide of presidential secretary arrested

Prosecutors arrested a former aide to Jun Byung-hun, presidential senior secretary for political affairs, on Tuesday for allegedly embezzling donations from Lotte Homeshopping to the Korea e-Sports Association while Jun served as the association’s chairman. The aide served as Jun’s secretary in 2015 when Jun was a lawmaker.

Two other people were apprehended as well on similar suspicions, though prosecutors withheld their identities.

The prosecution has yet to find any evidence that Jun was personally involved in the embezzlement. But prosecutors are also interested in the donation itself and are probing how and why Lotte’s shopping channel donated 300 million won ($269,700) to the association in 2015 and how the money was used.

In 2015, separate from his role in the Korea e-Sports Association, Jun was a lawmaker representing Dongjak District, southern Seoul, and a member of the parliamentary Future Planning, Broadcasting, and Communications Committee, which held a considerable amount of clout on the government’s decision to renew business licenses for home shopping channels.

Jun led the association from January 2013 until last May. In a text message sent to Blue House correspondents Tuesday, Jun denied local media reports alluding to his involvement in the embezzlement, saying he “never took part in any illegal act” connected to Lotte Homeshopping.

“I feel utterly dumbfounded,” Jun lamented in the text. Last October, prosecutors indicted Kang Hyun-gu, who at the time served as CEO of Lotte Homeshopping, on allegations he bribed government officials with money embezzled from the company while trying to renew the channel’s business license for three years.

Kang was also charged with falsifying business reports submitted to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, which had the ultimate hand in deciding the renewal.

Last week, Kang was sentenced to a year and a half in prison, suspended for two years.

BY HAN YOUNG-HYE, LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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