The former vice culture minister and a businessman, the two participants in an alleged bribery, were summoned to the prosecutors’ office on Thursday.
The prosecutorial investigation began following a disclosure by SLS Chairman Lee Kuk-chul last month that he has offered credit cards, cash, vouchers, vehicles and other items worth 1 billion won to Shin Jae-min since 2002.
Former vice culture minister Shin arrived at Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office at around 10 a.m. accompanied by his lawyer. Shin walked into the building without the iPad he had shown up with at an earlier investigation that had created a stir in the media.
When questioned by reporters, stern-faced Shin did not reply before entering the elevator.
Lee arrived at the office some 30 minutes earlier, also accompanied by his lawyer, and expressed his dislike to the reporters regarding the direction of the prosecutors’ investigation.
SLS Group chairman Lee Kuk-chul (left) and former Vice Culture Minister Shin Jae-min turn themselves in to be questioned over their bribery charges at Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
“The prosecutors are like lawyers for everything but Shin,” Lee said.
“I gave them everything they needed for an investigation. But if they don’t clearly investigate the bribes, I will open my little black book,” he said, referring to his claim that others had received his favors through Shin and others.
According to prosecutors, the investigation into Lee’s of bribery scandal claims in its final stages.
They added that they will thoroughly examine the records of an SLS Group corporate card that Lee claimed to have given Shin.
Prosecutors said that after investigating the department store gift cards, they found that they were used in conjunction with a membership whose registered name had no connection with Shin.
Prosecutors are also looking to verify Lee’s claims that he delivered some 100 million won to high-ranking prosecutors.
Earlier in the investigation Lee said Shin had used his corporate credit card 250 times between June 2008 and September 2009 at department stores, high-end restaurants and hotels. He alleged Shin used much of the money to provide favors to influential figures including Kwak Seung-jun, chairman of the Presidential Council for Future and Vision, and Lim Jae-hyun, presidential secretary for policy publicity.
Kwak and Lim denied the allegations and both filed a libel suit against Lee.
By Robert Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org