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Civic Group Accuses Top Gov’t Officials of Bribery

Posted March. 06, 2008 03:05,   


The Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ) alleged yesterday that senior presidential secretary for civil government Lee Jong-chan and National Intelligence Service Director-nominee Kim Seong-ho received bribes from the Samsung Group. It also contended that former Woori Financials Group Chairman Hwang Yeong-gi had been deeply involved in opening and managing bank accounts for Samsung Group’s slush funds.

The CPAJ alleged at a press conference held in Seoul that senior secretary Lee visited Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo’s office to receive money for his summer vacation, when Lee was the head of a public prosecutors’ office. The organization added that attorney Kim Yong-cheol had also personally delivered bribes to NIS Director-nominee Kim.

But presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan brushed off the allegations, saying, “We have conducted our own internal investigations and found no evidence supporting these claims. Our fellow citizens still remember the unsubstantiated negative allegations that rampaged throughout the last presidential election.”

Secretary Lee and NIS Director-nominee Kim also categorically denied the allegations, saying that the ongoing special prosecutor’s investigation into Samsung would clear them of wrongdoing.

In a written statement, former Woori Financials Group Chairman Hwang condemned the accusations, saying, “The priests` group is making up the whole story. It’s abhorrent. This baseless allegation has severely damaged my reputation. I will take whatever legal actions necessary to restore my honor.”

In response to the CPAJ’s press conference, independent counsel Cho Jun-woong, commented, “I will take these claims into consideration by first consulting with my deputies.”

dnsp@donga.com swpark@donga.com