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Lee’s ex-aide denies bribery allegations involving bank

June 15, 2011 - 19:06 By Song Sangho
A chief of a public corporation and former presidential secretary on Wednesday denied allegations that he pocketed tens of millions of won in kickbacks from the troubled Busan Savings Bank Group in return for business favors.

The prosecution is said to have secured a statement by Yun Yeo-seong, a financial broker who has been arrested in the investigation into the banking group, that he gave money to Kim Hae-soo, CEO of Korea Construction Management Corp.

The kickbacks were allegedly given in return for Kim peddling influence to help facilitate the bank’s efforts to gain approval for a lucrative urban development project in Incheon.

The allegations have unnerved the public as they indicate that another former aide to President Lee Myung-bak may be involved in corruption. Kim served as presidential secretary for political affairs from 2008-2010.

The president’s confidant and former state auditor Eun Jin-soo was also arrested last month on charges of taking bribes from the Busan bank which asked him to use his influence to ease the state financial inspection on the bank.

“I did not receive any money nor was ever asked to do any business favors for the Busan bank,” Kim told news media.

“Who would ever think of intervening in any development projects when he or she is in political circles? They would if they were a fool. I guess the allegations came as I once ran for a parliamentary election in Incheon.”

He also said the allegations could have a political agenda behind them.

“As the allegations surfaced that former Democratic Party lawmaker Suh Gab-won also received bribes, the allegations against me were made. This indicated to me that there is a considerable political intention against me,” he said.

Investigators are said to be verifying the allegations that Kim Yang, an arrested and indicted vice chairman of the banking group, offered 30 million won ($27,680) to Suh in October 2008 for business favors.

Suh flatly denied the charges.

“I have not ever received money from the vice chairman and I don’t know who he is personally. I have not even had a cup of tea with him or eaten anything with him,” Suh told reporters.

The former two-term lawmaker Suh was stripped of his parliamentary post in January after the Supreme Court confirmed charges that he took illicit political funds from a corrupt businessman.

By Song Sang-ho (