DP official at center of ‘cash envelope’ campaign scandal questioned again

April 19, 2023

Prosecutors questioned a key suspect in the “cash envelope” campaign scandal rocking the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) for the second time this week Wednesday, grilling him about how he collected money and whether former DP Chairman Song Young-gil knew about it.

The scandal centers on allegations that envelopes containing cash totaling 94 million won (US$71,700) were handed out to party members, including some 10-20 lawmakers, to help Song’s election as party leader ahead of the party’s national convention in May 2021.

Kang Rae-gu, a sitting member of the audit committee for the state water agency K-water, worked for Song’s campaign at the time and is now accused of collecting about 80 million won of the total from businesspeople and others in the central city of Daejeon, 139 kilometers south of Seoul.

On Wednesday, prosecutors questioned Kang about his role and whether Song knew about it, but Kang reportedly denied most of the allegations against him. It was the second time Kang has been questioned after the first on Sunday.

Sources said prosecutors were considering seeking an arrest warrant for Kang.

Prosecutors have previously raided the homes and offices of Reps. Youn Kwan-suk and Lee Sung-man for their alleged involvement in distributing the illicit money, and plan to expand the investigation to Song and those who received the money.

Song has denied the allegations.

The former DP chairman has been under mounting pressure from fellow party members to curtail his stay in Paris and return home early to take responsibility for the scandal.

In response, he said Wednesday that he will hold a press conference on Saturday at 4 p.m. (French time) to discuss his stance on the issue, including whether he will cut his trip short and return home early.

Song Young-gil, former leader of the Democratic Party (Yonhap)
Song Young-gil, former leader of the Democratic Party (Yonhap)