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Investigation Targets 2 GNP Lawmakers

Posted April. 14, 2006 03:16,   


On April 13, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office Public Security Department forbade the wives of Grand National Party (GNP) lawmakers Kim Deog-ryong and Park Sung-vum, as well as others involved in the investigation (a total of six to seven) from leaving the country on graft charge suspicions.

The prosecution decided this in answer to a GNP request to conduct an investigation on charges of graft, and it is also reviewing whether or not to forbid the two lawmakers from leaving the country.

The prosecution also requested the GNP to submit its own audit documents, and plans to investigate the overall picture of the case after summoning GNP officials who filed a suit as soon as April 14, as well as summoning and investigating those who allegedly provided money.

If it is confirmed that there was graft involved in the nominations for candidates for local elections, all those involved will face criminal prosecution. In addition, the investigation will be expanded to the nomination of local election candidates of all parties, both ruling and opposition, as well as corruption in party preliminaries.

Before the prosecution’s decision, lawmaker Park, who faces charges of alleged graft in nominating the GNP candidate for Jung-gu, Seoul, withdrew from GNP.

As for lawmaker Kim, who received money related to nominating a candidate for Seocho-gu, Seoul, said that he would soon announce his plans regarding whether he will withdraw from GNP and whether he will retire from politics.

Lawmaker Kim said, “If the party needs it, I will accept being kicked out of the party. I plan to clean up, on my own, everything as soon as possible, including my political career.” A close associate of Kim said that he could even resign from his seat at the National Assembly.

On the morning of April 13, the GNP requested the Seoul Central Prosecutor’s Office to investigate lawmaker Kim and his close associates on charges of receiving 440 million won from a potential candidate runner-up, and lawmaker Park for receiving 210,000 dollars, a luxury bag, and fur coat.

GNP Secretary General Huh Tae-yeol held a press conference and said, “Besides the cases involving Lawmakers Kim and Park, there are five to six more cases that the party is currently investigating.”

Sung-Won Park swpark@donga.com