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Ruling party lawmaker indicted over alleged corruption

2016/02/22 16:29

SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors said Monday they have indicted a ruling party lawmaker over suspicions he took bribes from the country's biggest steelmaker POSCO in exchange for business favors.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said Rep. Lee Byung-suk of the ruling Saenuri Party is suspected of peddling his influence to help POSCO resolve the suspension of a factory construction project in 2009.

Lee was the chairman of the parliamentary committee on land infrastructure and transport from 2008 to 2010, a position that made him an influential voice in the construction sector.

The construction resumed in 2011 after Lee contributed an op-ed article to a local newspaper and sent a letter to the then defense minister urging permission for the construction.

In return, Lee allegedly made POSCO sign contracts with two subcontractors owned by his acquaintances, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors suspect that Lee's acquaintances pocketed some 900 million won (US$729,000) in the process from 2010 to 2014.

The 63-year-old lawmaker then received some 20 million won from the heads of the two companies, according to prosecutors.

For the past year the prosecution has been investigating suspicious deals and alleged slush funds created by the world's fifth-largest steelmaker from 2009 to 2014.

Over 30 people, including a former lawmaker and a former chief of the company, have been indicted as a result, prosecutors said.