UPDATE : 2019.4.18 THU 10:12
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Arrest warrant sought against opposition lawmaker over alleged illicit political funds

Prosecutors on Tuesday filed for an arrest warrant for an opposition lawmaker on charges that he took illegal funds from several people, including a former municipal councilor, in return for favors.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office requested the writ against Rep. Lee Woo-hyun of the main opposition Liberty Party Korea on charges of violating the law regarding political funding and bribery.

Lee, 60, stands accused of taking 550 million won (US$510,000) from the then chairman of the Namyangju city council, just northeast of Seoul, in 2014, in solicitation for a mayoral candidate nomination. Lee was among those in charge of his party's nominations in the region at the time.

The two-term lawmaker is also suspected of receiving 120 million won from a local electric contractor in his constituency and as much as 1 billion won from dozens of other businessmen in the area.

Prosecutors need parliamentary approval to arrest him as an incumbent lawmaker has immunity from being taken into custody by law enforcement while the National Assembly is in session. Unless the parliament passes a motion for his arrest during the session, the prosecution has to wait till Jan. 9, when the session is due to end.

Prosecutors questioned him last week over the allegations. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The former city council chairman, only identified by his last name Kong, has been charged with violating political funding law and detained pending a court verdict. (Yonhap)

Rep. Lee Woo-hyun of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party is swamped by reporters on Dec. 20, 2017, as he arrives at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office to be questioned over alleged involvement in illegal political funds. (Yonhap)

Shin Eugenia  edt@koeapost.com

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