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Truckers’ Group Bribe Charges Probed

Posted July. 31, 2006 03:04,   


Police started an investigation on the Korea Trucking Association (KTA), an association composed of truck transportation business owners, over allegations that hundreds of millions of won were transacted during the association’s presidential elections.

Police suspect that the 70-year-old Mr. S, who was elected as KTA president at the May election, handed tens of millions of won to KTA municipal and provincial chief directors for their support.

Forty million won in cash found at the coffee shop of R Hotel in Incheon on April 26 is also suspected by police to be part of Mr. S’ attempt to influence municipal and provincial chief directors.

Investigating Rigged Elections—

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Crime Investigation Division announced on July 30 that it recently summoned three chief directors of KTA municipal and provincial branches and investigated whether they had received money from Mr. S.

Chief Director A had received 40 million won in cash before the election from Mr. S, but when the police investigation started, returned the money to the police.

However, police found out that some of the money returned by Chief Director A was not originally from Mr. S’ bank account, and consider that director A spent some of the money received and when the investigation started, withdrew his own money and returned the entire amount.

Chief Director B denied accepting any money, “A close associate of Mr. S brought 40 million won in cash, but after talking with him near my home, I sent back the money.”

Police investigations also revealed that Mr. S attempted to pay money to KTA Seoul Branch Chief Director M, who was also a rival candidate for KTA presidential election.

Chief director M commented, “He brought 40 million won, so I returned it, but he sent 70 million won in cash again asking if I had not accepted because the sum was too small. I returned this money to a close associate of Mr. S with various witnesses watching.”

Incheon Yeonsu police station led the investigation on the bag containing 40 million won found at a coffee shop in R Hotel in April by concluding that Mr. S had used the money to propose to Ms. J, his 35 year-old maid, and he left the money when he was rejected by her. However, it was confirmed that in reality, Chief Director C was at the spot where the money was left.

Mr. S had transported the products of a large conglomerate for over a decade, and when in late 2005, this conglomerate signed with another truck company, reportedly Mr. S was paid billions of won for compensation. Police view that a considerable amount of this compensation was used at the KTA presidential election.

The Power of the KTA President—

The KTA’s electoral college consists of 18 voters: sixteen municipal and provincial chief directors, Daejeon Hanbat Association chief director and the incumbent KTA president. Hence, a candidate needs only to gain the votes of 10 voters to win the election. At the recent election Mr. S faced off against chief director M. In the early stages of the elections, chief director M had 12 supporters, overwhelming Mr. S, who only had three votes, including his own.

The situation, however, changed at the voting that took place on May 12, where both candidates were tied with nine votes each. At the second vote that was initiated 20 minutes after the first vote, Mr. S earned 10 votes and became elected to the 20th KTA president with a three-year office term.

The KTA president has omnipotent authority over all personnel affairs and budget issues of the KTA, which has an annual budget of 350 billion won. A police official said, “As far as I know, the monthly expense allowance of the KTA president is somewhere around 40 million won, or an annual sum of about 500 million won.”