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Bribery Suspect Tries Suicide Before Hearing

Posted April. 24, 2010 05:56,   


A construction executive in Busan attempted suicide yesterday after claiming to have bribed some 100 former and incumbent prosecutors through entertainment.

In addition to those listed by the man in a document, he named other prosecutors who received entertainment favors from reporters, including one from The Dong-A Ilbo, at a law firm in front of the Busan District Court before attempting suicide.

The owner, Jeong, asked reporters to leave his office around 2:40 p.m., saying “I have to call my family.” He then took a large quantity of sleeping pills and was rushed to a hospital. After emergency treatment, he regained consciousness in 30 minutes.

Right after swallowing the pills, he reportedly said, “I’ll be indicted if I go to court. I’d rather die.”

Because of this, a hearing on whether to indict him scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Busan District Court was delayed for an hour. It was eventually held without him.

The accusation is causing quite a stir. Park Ki-joon, head of the Busan District Prosecutors’ Office, tendered his resignation after his name was on the builder’s list though denying involvement. The Justice Ministry rejected Park’s resignation since it cannot take disciplinary action against the prosecutor even if the resignation is accepted and Jeong’s claim confirmed.

Instead, the ministry is considering transferring Park and Han Seung-cheol, head of the inspection department of the Supreme Prosecutors` Office, to other positions until the regular personnel reshuffle next month. A presidential directive on dealing with corrupt public officials prohibits public officials under investigation for corruption from being fired.

A fact-finding committee of seven external figures and two senior prosecutors began a probe into the incident yesterday. Committee chairman Sung Nak-in said, “The committee will hold its first meeting early next week and be briefed by Chae Dong-uk, head of the Daejeon High Public Prosecutors’ Office, who is leading a fact-finding team as a committee member.”