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Suspicion Grows in `Sistergate` Involving 1st Lady’s Cousin

Suspicion Grows in `Sistergate` Involving 1st Lady’s Cousin

Posted August. 08, 2008 06:26,   


Prosecutors investigating Kim Ok-hee, the cousin of President Lee Myung-bak’s wife, are checking the flow of two billion won (two million U.S. dollars) that Kim deposited into her account shortly after the ruling party named its candidates for proportional representative seats.

Prosecutors said yesterday that Kim received one billion won Feb. 13, another billion Feb. 25 and 1.03 billion won March 7 from Kim Jong-won, the head of the Seoul Metropolitan Bus Transportation Union. Kim Ok-hee deposited 1.03 billion won before the candidate nominations and the remaining two billion won immediately afterwards.

Investigators want to know why Kim, who was having financial difficulty, did not put the money into her account for almost 50 days after receiving it from Kim Jong-won.

She is suspected of having delivered the two billion won to a politician in return for helping Kim Jong-won get a nomination, and then returning the money after he failed to get it.

On if the checks Kim Ok-hee deposited to her account were those she received from Kim Jong-won, she said, “Yes, most of them were.”

Prosecutors also summoned four politicians nominated as proportional representative candidates for the ruling party and the main opposition Democratic Party by the Korean Senior Citizens’ Association.

The four were Kim Jong-won, a former chairman of the association, the president of the association’s Daegu branch, and the association’s policy director.

Among the four, prosecutors summoned the former chairman and grilled him over why he applied for the nomination and how he got it.

verso@donga.com dnsp@donga.com