Informant on Sponsored Prosecutors Rearrested
By Cho Jae-hyon
A district court in Busan ruled Monday that the businessman who provided the list of prosecutors whom he allegedly bribed with gifts, meals and sexual services be rearrested for violating the legal representation law.
The prosecution has sought to detain the owner of a construction firm based in Busan, identified only as Chung, who handed a list of prosecutors he has "sponsored" over the last two decades to MBC TV's investigative journal "PD Notebook."
The ruling came after he attempted to take his own life by swallowing sleeping pills, Friday, over fears of being detained. He is not in critical condition, according to doctors.
However, the court said his health problems are not serious enough to justify the suspension.
Chung was arrested in August, 2009 for the violation of legal representation laws but was not taken into custody due to a knee injury that needed an operation.
The court allowed the prosecution to detain him, by shortening the suspension of his arrest to 6 p.m., Monday. He was originally granted a stay until May 16.
"Considering all the documents submitted by the accused, it's difficult to view that he has health problems serious enough to suspend his arrest," the court said in a ruling.
The court said he is scheduled to have an operation on May 10 but the suspension of arrest for an operation was "overprotective."
It also expressed concerns that he may try to avoid investigation as he already attempted to commit suicide.
After the ruling, Chung told Yonhap News that he is "ready" to be rearrested after he was told by his lawyer of the court's decision.
An acquaintance of Chung said that the accused was concerned that his being rearrested might adversely affect the uncovering of the truth behind the bribery scandal.
In the meantime, the fact-finding committee, set up to investigate the scandal, has short-listed the number of prosecutors it will summon for questioning to about 10. It is looking into the list of 57 former and incumbent prosecutors who allegedly received bribes.
Separately, President Lee Myung-bak said the prosecution should take the latest bribery scandal involving retired and active prosecutors as an opportunity to change its "internal culture."
For his part, Prime Minister Chung Un-chan also called the so-called "sponsorship" practices between prosecutors and businessmen "really shameful" in a speech at a symposium on the evaluation of the Lee administration.