By Na Jeong-ju
President Lee Myung-bak’s former political aide Kim Hae-soo is facing a summons over allegations that he accepted bribes from a savings bank that has been under investigation on corruption charges.
The prosecution suspects that Kim, now CEO of the state-run Korea Construction Management Corp., received some 80 million won ($74,000) from Busan Mutual Savings Bank in 2008 in return for his favors regarding the lender’s construction project.
The lender invested 470 billion won in building a residential complex in Incheon, but the project hit a snag due to financial difficulties. The firm allegedly sought favors from Kim and some politicians to continue the project, according to prosecutors.
Kim denied the bribery allegations.
Kim, a former secretary for political affairs for Lee, is among the former and incumbent presidential aides who have been involved in the savings bank corruption scandal.
The Busan-based lender has been accused of offering bribes to senior Financial Supervisory Service officials in return for their overlooking the illegal lending and other wrongdoings occurring. Operations at the bank were suspended in February for massive loan defaults.
Former senior secretary for political affairs Chung Jin-suk was criticized for working as an outside director for another corruption-ridden savings bank, Samhwa, for three years from 2004. He was recently replaced in a reshuffle of the presidential secretariat.
Baek Yong-ho, senior presidential secretary for policy planning, also faces allegations that he received 45 million won from the Busan-based lender while working as an advisor to Seoul Credit Rating and Information, an affiliate of the bank.
Prosecutors suspect the savings banks also bribed a number of politicians.
Gong Sung-jin, former lawmaker of the governing Grand National Party and former Democratic Party (DP) lawmaker Lim Jong-seok are under investigation for receiving money from Shin Sam-gil, the honorary chairman of Samhwa Mutual Savings Bank. Shin was indicted in April on charges of extending some 70 billion won in illegal loans.
Former DP lawmaker Suh Kap-won is also facing summons for bribery allegations.
Eun Jin-su, former legal advisor to President Lee, also resigned as an auditor at the Board of Audit and Inspection last month over allegations that he worked as a lobbyist for the Busan-based lender. Prosecutors said Eun is suspected of helping the lender gain favorable treatment from financial regulators and build ties to powerful politicians.