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Politicians Named in Bribe Scandal

Posted November. 30, 2006 06:49,   


The JU Group lobbying scandal is widening to include politicians as prosecutors say they are investigating politicians implicated in the case.

The number of politicians being investigated by prosecutors is reportedly four or five. Prosecutors said they came up with politicians’ names in the process of searching through evidence seized from JU Group.

A guess includes the names of politicians on the “list of gifts” made by Han Eui-sang, 45, who were indicted without detention and known to have been close to arrested JU Group chairman Joo Su-do. The names of K, a former minister and lawmaker, and another former lawmaker K were leaked by inside sources.

Also under suspicion are those who once served as advisory committee members for JU: former lawmaker and committee chair S, former minister P, and former lawmaker P.

Other politicians suspected include former minister K, who served as the president of a cable TV affiliated to the JU Group, and Uri lawmaker P who is close to Han.

The JU Group seems to have used a sort of “star marketing” method to raise its reliability. Some politicians even appeared in a JU Group’s company program or worked as marketers. Many victims said, “I decided to invest after I saw those famous people promoting JU actively.”

Some say politicians were used as a “protective screen” against a possible investigation by prosecutors. A report by the National Intelligence Service, which was open to the public in May, said, “Money and other goods were delivered to politicians and government officials as preparation against an investigation.” When prosecutors set out to investigate JU in 2004, the company lobbied against it through a Uri lawmaker.

We Are “Not Guilty”–

Those politicians whose names are mentioned are all saying they are not guilty.

Former minister K explained how he took the cable TV president position, saying, “I took the job because Chairman Joo promised to invest 60 billion won for media business, but I quit since he actually invested only 0.9 billion won.”

“He also suggested a position receiving 0.2 billion won a year when I lost in the National Assembly election, but I quit after serving for about three months. My name may be on Han’s list of gifts, but I have received no more than a few pairs of socks at holidays,” he added.

Another former lawmaker K said, “I saw Han once at a qualification exam reunion meeting but never received a gift from him.” Uri lawmaker P said, “I don’t remember meeting Han and never received a gift.”

According to prosecutors, former police superintendent and advisor for JU, Kim Kang-ja, presented herself at a prosecutors’ office voluntarily on November 28 and stated she lost most of her investment of 0.5 billion won in JU.

On the other hand, Joo argued in a letter to JU Group marketers on November 29, “I want to make it clear that I have never lobbied any politicians or government officials.”

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