Prosecutors press additional charges of bribery against ex-Gyeonggi vice governor

 Former Gyeonggi Province Vice Gov. Lee Hwa-young answers to reporters in Suwon District Court, Gyeonggi Province, June 7. Yonhap

Prosecutors on Tuesday pressed additional charges of bribery against former Gyeonggi Province Vice Gov. Lee Hwa-young who has been on trial for involvement in an underwear maker’s unauthorized remittance to North Korea.

Lee, who was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison earlier this month, was additionally charged with taking some 500 million won ($ 361,402) worth of money and services in bribes from local companies during his term as vice governor.

Lee is accused of receiving 20 million won monthly for over a year from the CEO of a local construction firm, totaling 300 million won. He also allegedly used a house owned by the construction firm CEO for free as an election camp during the presidential election in late 2021.

The former vice governor was also charged with falsely registering as an employee at an electrical contractor firm in 2015 and 안전 receiving 43 million won as salary, and using a company vehicle free of charge for six years from 2016.

He also had the head of the same firm pay for his rent and maintenance costs for his two offices near the National Assembly while he served as vice governor and the president of the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX).

The additional indictment came a little over a week after Lee was convicted of involvement in the unauthorized remittance to North Korea by local underwear maker Ssangbangwool Group, and was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison by a district court.

Prosecutors also accuse Lee of having the vice president of an asphalt and ready-mix concrete firm pay for his driver’s salary on his behalf.

Additionally, Lee allegedly received illegal political funds amounting to 20 million won from the former chairman of Ssangbangwool Group, Kim Seong-tae, on four separate occasions in the backdrop of his running for the general elections in 2020.

Prosecutors said they have asked the court to ban the disposal of the 537 million won the former governor has earned as proceeds of his crime.

“Lee has exercised his status and influence as vice governor of Gyeonggi Province to receive illegal funds from multiple companies during his term for six years,” the prosecution said, referring to the case as a “typical corrupt relationship between political and business circles.”

Meanwhile, a district court sentenced Lee to nine years and six months in prison earlier this month on charges centering on his alleged collusion with Ssangbangwool Group in transferring $8 million to North Korea between 2019 and 2020

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