A pro-Park lawmaker investigated for bribery

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A pro-Park lawmaker investigated for bribery

A prominent opposition lawmaker known for his political ties to ousted President Park Geun-hye will face an investigation on charges of bribery, officials said Saturday.

Rep. Hong Moon-jong of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) will be summoned to the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office as a criminal suspect next week at the earliest to be questioned about allegations that he accepted about 2 billion won ($1.85 million) in illegal funds through his private education foundation in 2012, the officials said.

The 62-year-old Hong, formerly a member of a pro-Park faction, served as the secretary-general of the ruling Saenuri Party, the predecessor of the LKP, in 2012.

Hong is suspected of having his Kyung School Foundation receive donations worth 1.9 billion won to buy paintings and calligraphic works from one of his political faction members, identified only as Kim, in a scheme seen as money laundering.

The four-term lawmaker is the current chairman of the board of the private school foundation based in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul.

Prosecutors suspect that Kim later paid back the 1.9 billion won to Hong.

They noted that 1 billion won of the donations to the school foundation was paid by former Saenuri lawmaker Jang Jung-eun, who was elected to the National Assembly in 2015 through the proportional representation system. Prosecutors suspect Hong’s role in Jang’s parliamentary election. Both Hong and Jang have denied any wrongdoing.

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