select languages
latestnewslatestnews RSS
Home > National > Politics/Diplomacy
(LEAD) Seoul court seeks arrest of incumbent legislator
SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court Sunday asked prosecutors to bring a written parliamentary approval for the arrest of a ruling party lawmaker suspected of bribery involving key aides to President Lee Myung-bak.

   The request by the Seoul Central District Court was made as a precondition to the questioning of Rep. Chung Doo-un of the Saenuri Party in accordance with the local law governing the arrest of legislators.

   The prosecution said it will send the court request to President Lee Myung-bak for approval through the justice ministry on Monday. The request, if approved by the president, will be then put to a full parliamentary vote.

   The National Assembly can pass a motion on the arrest of Chung with the assent of a majority vote when a majority of registered members are in attendance.

   The court, if the motion is passed, will quiz Chung before deciding whether to issue an arrest warrant for the three-term legislator.

   Lawmakers are exempted from being arrested while the assembly is in session unless approved by the parliament.

   Chung, 55, a close confidant of President Lee during Lee's presidential bid in 2007, is suspected to have received around 200 million won (US$175,669) from the chairman of Solomon Savings Bank in 2007.

   Prosecutors say the lawmaker accepted the money in return for using his influence to help the bank avoid suspension.

   The savings bank had its business suspended earlier in the year for lacking capital and business malpractice, and the chairman had extensively lobbied politicians and government officials to avoid suspension.

   The lawmaker is also under suspicion of accepting money for introducing the Solomon Chairman Lim Suk to President Lee's elder brother Lee Sang-deuk.

   Prosecutors are seeking an arrest warrant for the elder Lee, a former lawmaker, on charges of taking bribes from two savings bank heads and other unknown entities.

   Prosecutors have secured testimony and witnesses that say Chung was with the elder Lee when he took around 300 million won from Lim shortly before the last presidential election held in December 2007. They also say that the money was carried in the trunk of Chung's vehicle, according to prosecution sources.

   Chung, for that reason, has been described as Lee's "accomplice" in the arrest warrant request.