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(LEAD) Prosecutors investigate bribery allegations involving ex-aide to senior presidential secretary

2017/11/07 14:34

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(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with detention of ex-aide)

SEOUL, Nov. 7 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors detained a former aide to the senior presidential secretary for political affairs, Jun Byung-hun, Tuesday in connection with suspicions of bribe-taking from a local home shopping channel when Jun was a lawmaker.

Investigators took the former aide, identified only by his surname Yoon, and two others into custody, and searched Yoon's home and the office of the Korea e-Sports Association, which Jun chaired before becoming a presidential secretary earlier this year.

Prosecutors have confirmed that the association received 300 million won (US$269,930) in donations from Lotte Homeshopping amid suspicions the channel gave the money to seek Jun's influence in its efforts to renew its broadcasting license.

Jun belonged to the parliamentary committee on broadcasting and communications at the time.

"We're looking into the parts related to how the e-Sports Association received donations from Lotte Homeshopping and how the association's funds were embezzled," an official said.

Prosecutors are also looking into suspicions Yoon received money from Lotte.

Jun flatly rejected the suspicions.

"I was never involved in any illegality in connection with the Lotte Homeshopping case reported in the press," he said in a statement. "I'm truly dumbfounded."

   Last year, the chief of Lotte Homeshopping was indicted on charges of submitting false reports to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning to renew its business license, and of creating slush funds and using the money to lobby government officials.

He was recently sentenced to a 1 1/2 year prison term that will be suspended for two years.