Prosecutors to check on political bribes

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Prosecutors to check on political bribes

The Seoul District Prosecutors Office said Tuesday it plans to start investigating politicians who allegedly took bribes from Chin Seung-hyun.

Mr. Chin was recently sentenced to seven years in prison for obtaining illegal loans and manipulating stock prices, and two top officials - former Deputy Justice Minister Shin Kwang-ok and Kim Eun-seong, a former intelligence agent - have been detained on charges of taking bribes from him.

Prosecutors said Representative Kim Bang-rim of the governing Millennium Democratic Party will be questioned on allegations that she received 50 million won ($38,000) from Mr. Chin, via Kim Jae-hwan, in September 2000.

Mr. Kim ostensibly worked as a middleman between Mr. Chin and influential political and intelligence officials.

He has reportedly gone into hiding and prosecutors had delayed launching the investigation until he could be located. Prosecutors said the probe could not wait any longer and would go ahead without Mr. Kim, whom they consider the key witness in the case.

The prosecution also plans to summon the assistant to Representative Kim Hong-il, President Kim Dae-jung's eldest son. Prosecutors said they plan to clarify the allegation that Chung Sung-hong, another middleman for Mr. Chin, tried to approach Mr. Kim. Mr. Chung allegedly proposed a political contribution before the April 2000 general election, which Mr. Kim said he had refused..

by Kim Won-bae

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