Prosecutors plan to question JunProsecutors said Wednesday that they would inevitably question Jun Byung-hun, a senior presidential secretary, as part of a probe into a burgeoning bribery scandal involving his former aides.
“In light of the progress in the probe, we believe it is inevitable for us to directly investigate Jun,” a prosecution official told reporters, declining to be named. “We are considering [when we should question him].”
The remarks came hours after the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office sought an arrest warrant for a senior official of the Korea e-Sports Association involved in the scandal.
The association’s secretary general, identified only by his surname Cho, is suspected of helping aides to Jun launder some 110 million won ($98,900) out of a total of 300 million won that Lotte Homeshopping donated to the association in 2015 when Jun was its honorary chairman.
Cho, who has been under emergency detention since Monday, is also accused of providing one of Jun’s aides, identified as Yoon, with a corporate credit card when he had no position with the association. Yoon reportedly spent a large amount of money using the card.
Prosecutors are looking into why the TV home shopping channel, which has little to do with computer games, made the large donation to the association amid speculation it was part of an effort to seek Jun’s influence in its efforts to renew its broadcasting license.
Jun belonged to the parliamentary committee on broadcasting and communications at the time. His aide, Yoon, is suspected of forcing Lotte to make the donation in exchange for a promise not to take issue with Lotte’s license renewal.
Jun has categorically rejected suspicion of his involvement.
“I feel sorry and regrettable about the aberrations of my two former aides,” he told reporters Tuesday. “This has nothing to do with me, and everything will come to light if the prosecution conducts a fair investigation.”
The scandal is posing a tricky dilemma to the ruling Democratic Party, as it could undercut the government’s anti-corruption crusade and reform drive.
Despite Jun’s denial, concerns are rising that he could become a political liability for the young administration and embolden opposition parties to escalate their offensive.