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Former prosecutor arrested for taking sedan, handbag bribes

Dec. 5, 2011 - 20:17 By Korea Herald
A former female prosecutor embroiled in a corruption scandal was arrested on Monday to be questioned over allegations that she received a luxury sedan and a designer handbag in return for peddling her influence, prosecutors dealing with the case said.

The Busan prosecutors took the 36-year-old woman surnamed Lee into custody on Monday morning and were interrogating her, they said.

“An arrest warrant was issued on grounds that there were concerns she may disobey a summons (if not for the arrest) ... and the investigation should be conducted speedily,” a prosecution official said.

The former prosecutor is suspected of pressing a fellow prosecutor late last year to advance a criminal case in favor of a private-practice lawyer surnamed Choi. In return, she purportedly received a Chanel handbag worth 5.4 million won ($4,700) and a Mercedes-Benz sedan.

The prosecutor resigned from office in a city near Seoul last month after the scandal emerged.

As part of efforts to assuage rising public anger over public officials’ corruption, the prosecution launched an independent team of prosecutors and inspectors to look into the scandal.

During the ongoing interrogation, prosecutors were seeking to find a link between the kickbacks she received and a potential favor given to the 49-year-old lawyer, who was reportedly having a secret love affair with the arrested prosecutor.

Choi had denied in a recent interrogation that the gifts were given to the suspect in exchange for her influence as an incumbent prosecutor, prosecutors said. 

(Yonhap News)