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Top Seoul Educator Suspected of Election Violation

Posted December. 16, 2008 05:40,   


Seoul Metropolitan Education Superintendent Kong Jeong-taek will be summoned this week for questioning over an alleged violation committed in his election to his post in July, prosecutors said yesterday.

Investigators raided a private cram school in downtown Seoul run by Kong’s former student “Choi” and the office of a consulting company used as Kong’s campaign headquarters for the election.

“We raided the offices to investigate the overall planning stage of Kong’s campaign, including campaign funding,” said one investigator.

Ten investigators were sent to the offices, where they secured documents containing the campaign’s accounting information and election strategies.

Choi is known to have supervised the planning of Kong’s campaign and loaned him a combined 598 million won (630,000 U.S. dollars) over six occasions for campaign funding.

The progressive Democratic Labor Party filed a complaint against Kong, saying, “He offered business favors in exchange for campaign funding from private cram schools that stood to gain the most from the establishment of international middle schools.”

Kong denied the allegations against him, saying he simply borrowed money that he planned to repay with interest.

Prosecutors compared data on Kong’s campaign accounting and office management secured at the consulting company with what he reported to the National Election Commission.

Kong’s wife was recently summoned for questioning over how 300 million (219,458 dollars) to 400 million won (292,611 dollars) ended up in the bank account of her acquaintance. Kong’s brother-in-law “Lee,” who is chairman of a private school foundation, was also summoned.

Over the campaign period, Kong allegedly borrowed 200 million won (143,305 dollars) from Lee, who served as guarantor for Kong’s loans worth 1.2 billion won (877,834 dollars).

Prosecutors also summoned Kim Min-seok, chief of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union offices in Seoul, to see if the offices systematically directed support for campaign funding and activities for the election of Jou Kyong-bok, Kong’s rival, in July.

Prosecutors plan to summon Jou as soon as they complete their investigation on officials at the union’s Seoul offices.