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(LEAD) High court upholds acquittal for two opposition lawmakers

All News 11:42 June 15, 2017

(ATTN: CLARIFIES para 3; MINOR edits)

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul appellate court Thursday upheld a lower court's ruling that cleared two opposition lawmakers of charges of taking illicit political funds in the runup to the April parliamentary elections last year.

The Seoul High Court dismissed the prosecution's appeal against the initial verdict and found Reps. Park Sun-sook and Kim Soo-min of the People's Party not guilty.

Park and Kim were indicted in August 2016 on charges that they received some 216 million won (US$192,000) in return for giving contracts to two PR agencies to produce publicity materials for the party's election campaign.

The prosecution also accused the two lawmakers of forging documents to redeem the money from the National Election Committee (NEC) as if the money had been actually spent on campaigning.

The court agreed with the Seoul Central District Court, which ruled that the payments were fair proceeds based on the contract. It also rejected the prosecution's argument for their violation of the election law, since the two firms merely worked on publishing materials for the election.

Park and Kim regained their party membership rights in March after they were acquitted of all charges by the lower court in January. The prosecution filed for an appeal in the same month.

This file photo shows Rep. Park Sun-sook (L) and Rep. Kim Soo-min of the People's Party on Oct. 12, 2016. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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