A sitting lawmaker, formerly affiliated with the major opposition party, was indicted Thursday on suspicion of accepting bribes from a businessman, prosecutors said.
Rep. Park Ki-choon, formerly of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, allegedly received illegal political funds worth 350 million won (US$299,000) and valuables such as luxury watches and bags from the head of a distribution agency, only known by his surname Kim.
The Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office probing the case alleges that the three-term lawmaker helped Kim’s business in exchange for the money and valuables.
He has already been detained after a district court issued an arrest warrant with the consent of the National Assembly.
His arrest was subject to parliamentary consent as lawmakers in South Korea are immune from detention while the National Assembly is in session. The motion to arrest Park was put to vote during a regular session on Aug. 13.
Prosecutors allege that Park’s key roles on the parliamentary Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Committee, where legislation on the construction industry is dealt with, during the 18th and the current 19th National Assembly, put him in a favorable position to help Kim.
Park left the main opposition party last month, noting that he does not want to place any burden on it. The move lowered the number of seats held by the main opposition party in the 298-member parliament to 129.