Prosecution arrests key suspect in DP election bribery scandal

May 8, 2023

The prosecution on Monday arrested a key suspect in an election bribery scandal engulfing the main opposition Democratic Party (DP).

The Seoul Central District Court issued an arrest warrant for Kang Rae-gu on charges of directing the distribution of cash envelopes and providing illegal funds to DP members ahead of the party’s leadership election in 2021.

The prosecution sought an arrest warrant for him again last week after the previous request was rejected last month.

The court accepted the request citing concerns that he may destroy evidence.

The scandal centers on allegations that campaign officials of Song Young-gil, a former party leader, distributed cash totaling 94 million won (US$71,228) to party members, including some 10-20 lawmakers, ahead of the party’s national convention in May 2021, where Song was elected chair.

Kang was accused of collecting about 80 million won of the total and distributing the money in collusion with other campaign officials. Prosecutors also accuse him of taking 3 million won in bribe from a businessman who sought business favors connected to state water agency K-water’s power plant facilities.

Amid the scandal, Kang resigned as a member of the audit committee for K-water.

Prosecutors previously sought a warrant for him on April 21, but the court rejected the request, citing a lack of evidence.

Prosecutors have since secured fresh circumstantial evidence suggesting key suspects in the case may have changed their mobile phones and tried to destroy evidence, according to sources.