Posted March. 24, 2009 09:40,
Park Jung-kyu, former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, was detained yesterday as prosecutors expanded their probe into the bribery scandal involving Taekwang Industry CEO Park Yeon-cha, who faces indictment for bribery.
Park Jung-kyu is the first former official from the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration to be arrested on suspicion of being involved in the scandal.
Park Jung-kyu is a former prosecutor who was in charge of publicity and communications at the Supreme Prosecutors Office. He prepared for the national bar exam with former President Roh in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province.
He was arrested yesterday morning at his house.
Park Jung-kyu is alleged to have received gift certificates worth 100 million won (72,000 U.S. dollars) from Park Yeon-cha while serving as senior presidential secretary for civil affairs between February 2004 and January 2005, according to prosecutors.
Park (Jung-kyu) had many responsibilities as senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, said senior prosecutor Hong Man-pyo, indicating the gift certificates could have been bribes.
Jang In-tae, former vice minister of government administration, was also arrested Sunday afternoon for allegedly violating the law on political funds. He is known to have taken illegal political donations from Park Yeon-cha of hundreds of millions of won when running for governor of South Gyeongsang Province in June 2004 as candidate of the then ruling Uri Party.
After summoning and investigating Rep. Lee Kwang-jae of the main opposition Democratic Party over the weekend, prosecutors filed for an arrest warrant for him on charges of receiving illegal campaign funds from Park Yeon-cha worth 160 million won (115,000 dollars).
Prosecutors also said they obtained circumstantial evidence that two of Lees aides tried to meet Park Yeon-cha and destroy evidence after Park Yeon-chas arrest in December last year.
Prosecutors also sought an arrest warrant for Choo Boo-kil, former public relations secretary for President Lee Myung-bak, on suspicion of receiving 200 million won (144,000 dollars) from Park Yeon-cha in return for a lighter tax audit on Taekwang.
Choo snubbed his scheduled hearing at the Seoul Central District Court yesterday afternoon.